Virgin Galactic delays commercial spaceflights again

Virgin Galactic stock tumbled on the news

Billionaire Richard Branson's aerospace company Virgin Galactic announced on Thursday the third delay in its plans to begin offering commercial space flights, sending shares of the aerospace giant tumbling.

Sir Richard Branson's aerospace company Virgin Galactic has pushed back its plans for offering space tourism for a third time. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images  |  Virgin galactic)

"While our short-term plans now call for commercial service to launch in the second quarter of 2023, progress on our future fleet continues and many of the key elements of our roadmap are now in place to scale the business in a meaningful way," Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said in a statement released alongside the company's second-quarter earnings results.

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During Friday's trading session, Virgin Galactic shares fell more than 15% on the news.

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic issued a third delay this week in its plans to offer space tourism. (Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
SPCE VIRGIN GALACTIC HOLDINGS INC. 7.12 +0.12 +1.79%

The company also posted a greater net loss of $110.7 million in the second quarter, after losing $94 million in the same quarter a year ago.

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Virgin Galactic originally planned to begin commercial flights in the third quarter this year, but pushed that back to the fourth quarter last fall in order for the company to conduct a previously announced enhancement period for its VSS Unity spaceplane and VMS Eve mothership.

Richard Branson

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson speaks to the crowd while celebrating a flight to space from Spaceport America near Truth or Consequences, N.M., Sunday, July 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton / AP Newsroom)

Then the company announced in May that the new target fly-window for space tourism would be the first quarter of 2023, citing "escalating supply chain and labor constraints."

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The aerospace firm is currently selling tickets for forthcoming spaceflights for $450,000 apiece. 

FOX Business' Lucas Manfredi and Reuters contributed to this report.