Shares of Virgin Galactic (SPCE -5.02%) rose 16.2% this week as of Thursday’s close, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, extending last week’s post-earnings momentum as the company appointed a notable new board member.
Virgin Galactic welcomes a new board member
Recall Virgin Galactic roared more than 30% higher in a single day last week after the leading space stock not only announced better-than-expected third-quarter results, but also unveiled an ambitious new cost-savings and capital-allocation plan designed to shift resources toward building out its fleet of next-generation spaceships, which it’s calling its “Delta Class” vehicles.
Shares of Virgin Galactic extended that momentum on Monday, rallying more than 5% as the market continued to absorb the news. Then on Wednesday, the stock jumped again after the company announced it had appointed Luigi Brambilla to its board of directors. Brambilla also serves on the boards of Virgin Voyages and Virgin Atlantic, and brings nearly two decades of investment and capital-markets expertise to the table. His contributions could prove integral to any future efforts to minimize cash burn, scale its spaceflight operations, and potentially raise additional capital down the road.
What’s next for Virgin Galactic investors?
Virgin Galactic previously completed its sixth successful human spaceflight in as many months in early November and is currently planning its next spaceflight mission for January 2024. After that, management says they’ll move to a quarterly flight frequency starting in Q2, and they’ve yet to determine whether they’ll pursue a third spaceflight around the middle of next year.
The reason for the slowdown? Virgin Galactic will soon begin to reallocate personnel and other resources toward those next-gen Delta Class spaceships. Each Delta Class ship will be capable of flying as often as once per week, marking a significant improvement from Virgin Galactic’s current monthly cadence. According to the company’s update last week, its new spaceship factory in Phoenix should open in mid-2024, and the first Delta Class vehicles will be on track to commence revenue-generating flights starting in 2026.
That means Virgin Galactic shareholders will be playing a waiting game for any additional material updates over the next several quarters. But for now, given fresh clarity on Virgin Galactic’s growth trajectory, it’s no surprise to see the stock rebounding nicely this week.