The flight carried two pilots to an altitude of 55.45 miles, according to the company, positioning Virgin Galactic to begin launching paying customers within the next year. The 50-mile mark is considered to be where the earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins.
News that it planned the flight had already started to lift Virgin Galactic’s recently battered shares. After reaching a record price of $62.80 on February 4, the share price slid steadily, hitting a low of $15.05 on May 13. Even with the 60% rebound off that low, shares are still firmly in bear market territory.
Still, one analyst, Pete Skibitski of Alembic Global Advisors, raised his estimate on the stock to an “overweight” or buy recommendation Monday from his previous neutral rating.
“We believe the flight is likely to keep the test schedule on track, providing catalyst for the shares, to include the remaining three test flights before the first regular consumer revenue-generating flight in early 2022,” he wrote in a note to clients.