Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE)

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Re: Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE)

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Virgin Galactic +6% after BofA tips that shares could double

https://seekingalpha.com/news/3617547-v ... res-double
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We zijn weer vertrokken voor een mooie rit 🔥 🚀
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Re: Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE)

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Wall Street analysts back Virgin Galactic, but two traders lay out why it’s not a buy yet
PUBLISHED TUE, SEP 29 2020 7:04

Wall Street is hitching a ride with Virgin Galactic.

Susquehanna and BofA Securities initiated coverage of the stock on Monday with a buy rating. Susquehanna analysts called Virgin an innovator of space technology, while BofA said its growth potential is "unparalleled."


UBS says space tourism has the potential to be a $3 billion market by 2030.

Nancy Tengler, chief investment officer at Laffer Tengler Investments, told CNBC on Monday that the customer base may not be there just yet.

"I'd like to see people returned to commercial air flight before we spend too much time thinking about the potential although it captures your imagination," shed said on "Trading Nation."

"I understand why people are excited about it. Two hundred thousand to $250,000 a ticket, however, limits the potential clients, so I think we need to see them begin operations and that happens in the first quarter of 2021. And then see where we go from there and how this catches on."

Tengler also highlighted its recent price action. The stock has rallied nearly 200% since a bottom last November; however, it is still more than 50% off its February peak.


In the same interview, New Street Advisors founder Delano Saporu said the stock's fundamentals are keeping him away.

"The company still isn't profitable. Commercial operations haven't begun. But you know there is some compelling growth story, but we really want to see this play out over time, first and foremost," he said.

Virgin Galactic will conduct its next spaceflight test on Oct. 22. If successful, the company may move forward with a flight with founder Sir Richard Branson in the first quarter of 2021 to kick off its commercial service.

"Right now, I'm sitting on the sidelines of this and kind of waiting to see how things play out," said Saporu.
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Re: Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE)

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Wall Street Unanimity On Virgin Galactic Hits Scientific Skepticism

GILLIAN RICH 02:41 PM ET 10/02/2020
Wall Street has turned extremely bullish on Virgin Galactic stock with all eight analysts giving it a buy rating despite a lack of revenue and commercial flights still months away. But some in the scientific community are taking a more measured approach to Richard Branson's space company.


Virgin Galactic (SPCE) became the first publicly traded space tourism company in 2019 after a reverse merger with blank check company Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings. Aerospace giant Boeing (BA) is an investor with its venture capital arm HorizonX holding a $20 million minority stake.

After successful glide flights, Virgin Galactic is preparing for powered tests and sees its first commercial flights in Q1 2021 if those tests are successful. Virgin Galactic hasn't flown any paying passengers yet, but Wall Street analysts are focused on its potential.


The Case For Virgin Galactic Stock
"I think it's a combination of factors of, call it a scarcity premium on commercial space and companies in general, comfort with management, and comfort with the technology," Ron Epstein, a senior analyst at Bank of America, told IBD in an interview.

Epstein said that "absolutely" the technology is there, and he is especially bullish on management.

Virgin Galactic appointed Michael Colglazier as the new CEO in July. In his previous role as president of Disney (DIS) Parks International, Colglazier was responsible for operations, strategy, and commercial and experiential development of the company's parks and resorts.

Then there is the obvious risk of dying. A Virgin Galactic test pilot died in a 2014 crash, but the National Transportation Safety Board ruled that the cause of the accident was due to pilot error.

Epstein noted that a fatal crash is a risk for Virgin Galactic stock but is confident in the company's ability to handle it.

"I'm not worried, knowing the management, about how they'll handle that and investigate it and try to learn from it," Epstein said. "My gut sense is if you want to go to space, this is the way to do it."


He added that if Virgin Galactic's spaceplane loses power in mid-flight, it can glide back to earth, unlike a traditional rocket.
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Re: Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE)

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Virgin Galactic Is Weeks Away From Reaching a Huge Milestone
Space tourism definitely has a cool factor, but the profitability path is long.


Christine Williams (TMFCMWilliams)
Oct 8, 2020

Being a space tourism company still in its infancy, Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) stock was as hard hit as any other tourism operation when the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe. And like many other tourism operations, the company has managed to recover somewhat from the downturn, but its stock is still trading well below highs hit before the late February market meltdown.

In a hopeful sign for Virgin Galactic, plans are nearing completion to carry out its final test flights and potentially open its commercial service to the public.

Now that the ship(s) may soon take off, will this commercial spaceline operator go boom or bust?

Last tests before liftoff
Virgin Galactic engineers plan to complete testing of the company's SpaceShipTwo system on Oct. 22. If successful, this test would mark a major transition for the spaceliner vehicle the company is basing its operations on. The vertically integrated company has spent the last two years preparing for the day it can send up founder Sir Richard Branson, and these next two suborbital flight tests will prove whether its efforts to start its commercial service are on course.

The Virgin Galactic spaceshipIMAGE SOURCE: VIRGIN GALACTIC.
Virgin Galactic has invested more than $500 million into its mission, with the aim to be the first in commercial space tourism. Like many start-ups, the company has spent far more than it could possibly earn back in the immediate future. In Virgin Galactic's case, the cash burn has been even higher: It turns out developing for space is a very, very expensive business, and without a product, the company has fallen deeper in the red with every quarter that passes.


However, its last successful flight in February 2019 generated a buzz of interest, which translated to over 600 spaceflight tickets being reserved and more than $80 million placed as deposits. All told, since its very first test flight in December 2018, Virgin Galactic has received nearly 8,000 interest inquiries on the back of very passive marketing efforts.

Demand estimates remain high
Of course, assuming that Virgin Galactic successfully passes these next test flights, the company's founder will likely be the first Future Astronaut -- the descriptor being used by Virgin Galactic for its space fliers. This would mark the start of the company's commercial service, which includes a three-day pre-flight preparation tour in the Virgin Galactic Spaceport and a 2.5-hour suborbital flight through space.

Yet, with so many expenses involved in developing, testing, and maintaining a spaceflight operation, will Virgin Galactic ever be able to turn a profit?

In fact, nearly all of the company's stock value derives from high consumer expectations. At the moment, Virgin Galactic has negligible revenue in proportion to its expenses. The company logged $230,000 in revenue in the first six months of 2020, down from $2.4 million in the prior-year period, while operating expenses jumped 40% year over year.


But a recent Cowen survey has found that a significant number of individuals with more than $5 million in net worth are very interested in commercial spaceflight and are willing to pay $250,000 for a single ticket. Virgin Galactic has also confirmed that its near-term customers will be mostly individuals with a net worth of over $10 million.

View of Earth from spaceIMAGE SOURCE: VIRGIN GALACTIC.
Only 575 astronauts worldwide have made it out of Earth's atmosphere to date, and the appeal of such a trip remains extremely elevated. Beyond that, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimated that, while the commercial space industry was worth $385 billion in 2017, by 2040 that figure may very well balloon to $1.4 trillion.

So the monetization potential is definitely present, and the company has the ability to eventually fly humans to space in the near future. The question of profitability, though, is one for the long run. Virgin Galactic will launch commercial service with only one ship and one carrier aircraft, and consequently, the flight rate will be highly constrained. This may result in initial ticket prices higher than $250,000 per person, which is somewhat to the company's benefit as it would ramp up revenue in relation to costs, but it also limits the company's ability to expand operations. After all, only six passengers fit inside the VSS Unity spaceship, and launches are highly subject to weather conditions and equipment readiness.

To address this, Virgin Galactic is already preparing to manufacture two additional spaceflight systems. This fleet expansion would then allow an increase in the annual flight rate and help the company to solidify its status as the first and possibly premier space tourism operator in the world.


In terms of profitability, however, these upcoming flights will serve as a turning point if successful. The faster Virgin Galactic manages to put people up in space, the faster it may one day meet consumer expectation for its decidedly cool product.
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Re: Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE)

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First scientist slated to fly to space on Virgin Galactic’s suborbital tourist rocket

Head of NASA’s Pluto mission, Alan Stern, is the rider


Planetary scientist Alan Stern will become one of the first researchers to fly to space on board a future flight of Virgin Galactic’s tourist spaceplane. Stern will oversee two different experiments while on board the flight, each meant to take advantage of the brief stay in the space environment.


Virgin Galactic’s vehicle, SpaceShipTwo, is designed to take customers high above Earth to get a taste of weightlessness. The company has flown both people and research experiments to space before on the spaceplane. But the company has yet to fly any actual researchers on the vehicle. All of the research payloads that have flown on SpaceShipTwo so far have been automated. Most of this research is funded and arranged through NASA, which wouldn’t allow researchers to fly along with their experiments.

STERN WILL OVERSEE TWO DIFFERENT EXPERIMENTS WHILE ON BOARD THE FLIGHT

But in January, NASA announced that it would start accepting proposals from scientists outside the agency who were interested in flying, along with their work, on commercial rockets that launch to the edge of space and back. Only two options for these types of flights are in the works at the moment: Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo and Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket, which has flown experiments but no people yet. In a call for proposals put out in March, NASA offered scientists between $450,000 or $650,000 to fund their research and trip, depending on what they proposed.

Stern, the associate vice president of Southwest Research Institute’s (SwRI) space science and engineering division, made it clear that he was eager to take advantage of the opportunity back in March. “It’s our job to respond to that call for proposals and flood them with good ideas to show them how much interest there is, how much impact this can have,” he said at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference in Colorado, according to Space News. Also well-known as the principal investigator of NASA’s mission to Pluto, Stern has been a staunch advocate for researchers being able to fly with their experiments on suborbital flights.

“It was it was simultaneously hugely gratifying and hugely humbling,” Stern tells The Verge of finding out his proposal had been accepted. “And when I found out yesterday that this was the only proposal they accepted, it meant even more, and the responsibility is even more to do a good job.”


Stern will be working with two experiments while he’s on the Virgin Galactic flight. One will entail working with a low-light camera, once used on the Space Shuttle, to see how well scientists can observe stars and other objects in space out the windows of SpaceShipTwo. The different windows may have different lighting conditions in relation to the Sun. “My job is to deploy that experiment and take it to three different windows or more during the zero gravity portion of flight, before I have to go back and buckle up for entry,” says Stern. He’ll also be wearing various sensors that will monitor his vital signs from just before getting on the spaceplane until after landing.

“IT WAS SIMULTANEOUSLY HUGELY GRATIFYING AND HUGELY HUMBLING.”

To get to space, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is carried to an altitude of around 35,000 feet, underneath the wing of a giant dual-fuselage carrier aircraft. Once at the right altitude, the spaceplane is released and ignites its main engine. The vehicle then climbs up to a height of roughly 55 miles, reaching a region of the atmosphere that many consider to be the beginning of space. The vehicle then shifts its wings and reenters Earth’s atmosphere, eventually gliding to a stop on a runway.

Stern’s flight on SpaceShipTwo has yet to be scheduled, but he says he’ll spend time training in the run-up to the flight. “We’re going to plan every moment of it and what to do in contingencies,” Stern says. “And then train. A lot of the training won’t be with Virgin. It’ll be on Zero G aircraft, high performance jets — the things that I’ve already done but now it’s just run up to flight.”


In the meantime, it’s been a while since Virgin Galactic has actually reached space. The company’s last powered test flight occurred in February 2019. Since then, Virgin Galactic has moved from its test facilities in Mojave, California, to the company’s permanent home at a spaceport in the New Mexico desert. Today, Virgin Galactic said it is getting ready for its first flight to space from New Mexico, which will “occur later this fall.”

When Virgin Galactic does eventually launch again, Stern says he’ll be watching closely. “I’ll probably drive down to New Mexico, which is a neighboring state [of Colorado], and go see that flight,” he says.

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Re: Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE)

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Seeking alpha:

Virgin Galactic gets closer to key spaceflight
Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) has confirmed that it is on track to conduct its first suborbital spaceflight in the coming weeks from Spaceport America in New Mexico. The flight planning window opens on October 22, and will be the first of two missions that will complete testing of the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft system. If both flights succeed, Virgin Galactic expects to fly founder Sir Richard Branson in the first quarter of 2021, notching a milestone that will commence the company's commercial tourism service.
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