Virgin Galactic CEO outlines remaining steps before commercial spaceflight service starts next year

Virgin Galactic on Thursday revealed a wider third-quarter loss from a year prior, with CEO Michael Colglazier outlining the excess steps before the space tourism organization means to launch its long-delayed service one year from now.

“As we approach commercial service, we recognize the significance of getting back to the business of spaceflight,” Colglazier said on a conference call.

The organization said it is almost finished with an extended time of downtime to refurbish and upgrade its vehicles. Colglazier expressed work on spacecraft VSS Unity is done, while work on carrier aircraft VMS Eve is set to be finished before the finish of December.

Virgin Galactic will then, at that point, move to a series of test flights in the first quarter, which Colglazier said will start with a VMS Eve test flight toward the beginning of January. Then the organization will lead a “glide flight” test with both VMS Eve and VSS Unity, prior to moving to a test spaceflight with a Virgin Galactic mission specialist.

Commercial service will be marked by the launch of a formerly reported flight carrying members of the Italian Air Force, planned for the second quarter, prior to moving to additional trips of private clients. The organization has around 800 clients in its backlog.

Shares of Virgin Galactic are down 66% this year as of Thursday’s end of $4.58.

For the quarter, the organization detailed an adjusted EBITDA loss of $129 million, contrasted with a loss of $68 million a year prior, with negligible revenue. The organization has about $1.1 billion in cash on hand, and finished an “at the market” common stock offering that raised $100 million.

Virgin Galactic is underscoring the potential of its “Delta-class” series of spacecraft, with work set to start one year from now. However, Colglazier noted that, since the organization is focusing on its resources on launching commercial service and building Delta-class spacecraft, that “will likely impact the pace of work on our second spaceship VSS Imagine,” which should support Virgin Galactic’s near-term capabilities.

“We are reassessing its schedule for entering commercial service,” Colglazier said.