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Virgin Galactic: Set To Crash Down To Earth


  • Virgin Galactic’s space tourism is likely to face further delays, in line with the company’s history, and offers a weaker product than peers.
  • Fortunately for Virgin Galactic, the market for space tourism is expected to be in a supply constraint so they will still be able to find customers.
  • Virgin Galactic is working to develop a vehicle capable of supersonic travel but is, again, behind peers and is likely to struggle in the market.
  • The company’s shareholder base paints an incredibly poor picture no matter how you frame it, supporting the story of emotion-driven retail investors overpowering concerned professionals.
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Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Test Flight In Mojave Desert
Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images News via Getty Images

Virgin Galactic (NYSE: NYSE:SPCE) has seen an incredibly impressive run since it announced plans to go public, climbing around 100% since then. However, this impressive performance has been wildly unjustified and largely ignores the weak fundamentals of the company. Instead, I believe that the stock’s performance

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Long Term Tips profile picture

I tend to focus on long-term stock ideas, oftentimes rooted in tech or EVs. I have been a casual investor for years with solid returns and want to share what I have learned with others who may find value in my thoughts.

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Comments (174)

JPTRKN profile picture
Looks like you were wrong.
@JPTRKN who was wrong and why?

Nothing more than an old worthless venture...

prove us wrong.
John Miller profile picture
@vortex generator ...it was wrong to lead with the crash photo because it is sensationalism.

Plus the opinion about the rocket versus the glider seems off because these folks are going to want to land, get off, and buy a $12 latte not parachute to who knows exactly where and have to get helicopter lifted back to base camp.

There is a lot of value in the hybrid engine design, the heat shielding application process, the shuttlecock reentry design, things like that.
@vortex generator today's 41% was pretty neat
I almost lost me some big gains buy this article. Lucky I missed selling @18 by a nickel and then forgot about it as it dipped back to $17. Sometimes it's better to buy and tuck shares away.
Its a meme stock...nothing more, and a hell of a lot less...
John Miller profile picture
@vortex generator ....well, they did just on Saturday put two guys (and they have sent a woman before) into space. Maybe a pinch more than a meme stock if they are the first publicly traded company to do that?
treespace profile picture
Space is infinite so there's room for more than one competitor in the space experience market. I sold all of my Tootsie Roll Industries stock this morning (TR: NYSE) and bought SPCE. To be honest I never liked Tootsie Roll and its faux chemically-based "chocolate" flavored sugar. I'm definitely feeling more George Jetson and less Fred Flintstone as a result. To the moon! If Virgin Galactic starts accepting payment in Doge coin I might sign up for an experience myself.
Think Long Term profile picture
The author of this article just made themself look like a complete fool....2 more flights and they can get licensed....hope you guys are buying this now...this is going to be like a Tesla cult stock soon...
LikesToLearn profile picture
@Think Long Term Patience...the test flight is an important milestone but doesn't impact any of the points made in the article. Let's see when they actually reach regular commercial operations.
BOOM VANG profile picture
Positive sentiment will likely drive the stock higher on a bumpy upward path now, and it will likely consolidate near $28-$30 as the company prepares for its next test flight (hopefully) soon.
kthor profile picture

probably swing $18-35, just depends who's buying and who's dumping
Aged like milk
rurichyet? profile picture
It’s a good thing that I didn’t believe and listen to this analysis, I could have lost almost $300K. But luckily hold on until today hoping for recovery.
GLTA LONGS your patience and endurance are soon be paid off.
Here is the catalyst. 5/22/21
Virgin Galactic completes successful test flight as bull story re-ignites
To the space and beyond ! ! !
Not sure I agree with the assertion that passengers will want the authentic space experience sitting on top of a rocket and feeling all the inherent G forces. I think this would put alot of people off apart from the real thrill seekers. Alot of wealthy people with disposable income are unsurprisingly the older generation. Think they would prefer the more genteel option where they can quaff champagne and caviar at least up to 14000m! I just wish the whole enterprise could use more renewable energy. Why can't they use hydrogen fuel? Is it too risky?
@spynage Yup, hydrogen as a rocket fuel is inherently dangerous. Its evaporation point (at normal pressure) is -423,2°F (-252,9°C). You can figure out the rest. The hybrid (solid/liquid) engine used in VG spaceships has a massive advantage in terms of safety and also simplicity. Meaning that it is highly unlikely to blow up, and it is easy to cut off the power at any moment should the need arise (which is not the case with normal solid fuel rocket engines).
Though of couse these hybrid engines have limited power and are mostly good for sub-orbital flights (which is what we have here). It's not like Elon Musk could just strap it on his spaceship and fly to Mars.
@spynage Those older wealthy people have lots of children and grandchildren chomping at the bit to get into space.
@Bobcat77 They'll probably all want to take the same journey so they can share the experience.
EmilZola profile picture
LMAO, can't wait for Monday's short squeeze
Curious to get a follow up article at this point ;)
Bought a 7500 shares last week and 750 calls 15 and 16 strike prices.

Time to gloat.
John Miller profile picture
@R5turbo2 ....cant wait to hear how the downlink, EMI work, the flight controls and Eve's tail held up. If we can get a second flight with fully loaded cabin in July that will really rock.
@John Miller agreed.
@John Miller >>...Eve's tail...<<

That is the only thing I didn't like about the design of the mothership...it really bothered me.
yoipitydafool profile picture
What's the Vegas odds that Sir Branson actually goes on one of the first flights?
kthor profile picture

if he doesn't, stock might go $5!
@kthor looks like you now flipped your tone like many others.
kthor profile picture

still cautious, now sure how many more flights before real passenger, for now my play is just option and looks like a good gain comes this monday
John Miller profile picture
Ok, just for fun lets assume they have successful powered flight in the next few days. How many weeks till the "test flight two" with the full cabin???
doggiecool profile picture
@John Miller if the mothership doesn't need maintenance, I would guess mid July
kthor profile picture
@John Miller

let's ask chief engineer Geordi La Forge
LikesToLearn profile picture
I really enjoy the Rocket Report on Ars Technica, you can subscribe for free. arstechnica.com/...

One of this week's updates talks about a new book on Virgin Galactic, to quote:

"A new book by Nicholas Schmidle, Test Gods: Virgin Galactic and the Making of a Modern Astronaut, does an admirable job of taking readers behind the scenes of Virgin Galactic, Ars reports. Schmidle enjoyed unparalleled access to Virgin Galactic beginning in 2014, shortly after a fatal crash of the VSS Enterprise spacecraft that killed co-pilot Michael Alsbury. (This flight test was operated by Scaled Composites, which developed the spaceship for Virgin Galactic). Few restrictions were placed on Schmidle, and he was allowed to record phone calls and meetings. This lasted for more than four years.

An analog launch system ... Perhaps most importantly from the book, we get a sense of the precariousness of Virgin Galactic's spaceflight technology. Unlike Blue Origin's automated New Shepard launch system or SpaceX's Crew Dragon Vehicle—which can take off from Earth and dock to the International Space Station in low Earth orbit without an astronaut ever touching the controls—VSS Unity is very much an analog system. One is left wondering how the system can ever expand to frequent, reliable, and safe flight."
@LikesToLearn same here ; ) original ars post on the book:
(always good stuff in the comments as well) - edited for better link
John Miller profile picture
@LikesToLearn ....I do see your point about the advantages of computer and ground controlled rockets.

As a counter point, we arguably reached "frequent reliable and safe" automobile usage and of course commercial airline flights using what you are deeming "analog systems". If we had waited for "autopilot" in either it is hard to imagine where we would be now.

Further, what seems to work now from a frequency and safety perspective is pilot aided computer control, right? I am thinking about Tesla or modern commercial plane landings.

Interestingly, from an anomaly perspective, look at United Flight 232, Apollo 13, or US Airways Flight 1549..... maybe there should always be a human factor.

And that is in no way an indictment of Michael Alsbury or establishing human factor guidelines.
@LikesToLearn It was designed in 2004....
old tech, old designs, old aircraft, and old people....
kthor profile picture
lets see if this test $10
Psychologically, I'd feel safer getting in a plane shaped thing than a rocket. Its familiar. So I disagree with the sentiment of the author on that point. If you can instagram on your way up, all the better, even if the last launch doesnt happen its plenty of time to decide while BO and Space X are committed from the moment you strap in.
Also VG is in space "tourism". People matter from the start. It is not an afterthought to clamp on, which is what the author is suggesting in the way BO and Space X are approaching this from. No deaths, he says, well that is easy when there are no people involved in your rocket launches. Throwing the public around in a capsule after they just blew up near space is not going to be the mark of success either despite videos suggesting it is "very safe" I dont think a member of the public would agree after the experience.

My only concern with VG is Chamath and Branson's displaying lack of confidence which also leaves me wondering where the money will come from to keep funding them.

Space is at the same point flight was before passengers started flying. Death was common place because it is a pioneering field. But Space Tourism is inevitable because humans cannot stop pushing for those kind of boundaries, and VG is in a more familiar and long tested position than any of the others currently. Could it all turn to dust? Sure, but only due to financial fails imo because its inevitable. Even if the competition get there first, VG has the track record of tourism under its belt.

I think someone put it best when they said...

"In 2025 VG is either a $100+ a share as the first space tourist company with a budding supersonic flight business or a $1 due to a plane crash with Justin Bieber inside."
@mdkb Or, due to their inability to deal with their technical challenges their stock drops so low that a reissuance won't be sufficient to fund operations to the point of sufficient revenue intake. Then it's all bad.
@leifwhite the competition might eat them up at that point. It is edging worryingly close, admittedly.
@mdkb With the Blue Origin version, the capsule can get away from the engine and it parachutes down..
There is no fail safe or emergency exit from the VG craft...you just die...
Nice call
The more bears come out and discuss how bad this company is. It’s the only time this stock move up.
@R5turbo2 How wrong can you be?
@Simeroth1 yep. Can’t disagree with you.
@R5turbo2 kicked ass today my friend. Sold my 150 $18 puts this morning. Bought 180 $15 calls this morning.
Virgin Galactic is just a few days away from hosting a live televised test flight that will make every news channel. This will be a very exciting event. God knows how high the stock price will go.
@AlbertAFT Yes they will be flying soon....
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