Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. reports its second-quarter results after market close Tuesday, as the private space company ramps up its commercial operations.
Analysts surveyed by FactSet expect Virgin Galactic
to report a loss of 51 cents a share and revenue of $1.2 billion.
In June, Virgin Galactic made its first commercial flight when the Galactic 01 mission transported three crew members from the Italian air force and the National Research Council of Italy into space to conduct research on microgravity. Virgin Galactic is targeting Aug. 10 for its Galactic 02 mission, which is the company’s first flight to take private astronauts into space.
Related: These are the passengers for Virgin Galactic’s first private spaceflight
The company has said it expects monthly flights to follow after the Galactic 02 mission. Space experts will be closely monitoring Virgin Galactic’s earnings conference call for details on this schedule.
Micah Walter-Range, president of space consulting firm Caelus Partners and a contributor to the S-Network Space Index, which is the index behind the Procure Space exchange-traded fund
told MarketWatch that he will be looking out for information on how Virgin Galactic is turning its spacecraft around. “Any indication that it’s easier or harder than expected will carry implications for the tempo of flights in the foreseeable future,” he said via email. “If it turns out to be harder than expected, then they’re not going to hit the goal of monthly flights they were planning as of the end of June 2023. An easier turnaround might lead to more flights and better profitability.”
Last month, KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Philip Gibbs said that Virgin Galactic’s first commercial flight was an important milestone for the company, but a full ramp of its operations remains “years away.”
Related: Virgin Galactic hits milestone, but full ramp of commercial operations still ‘years away,’ analyst says
In a filing last month, the company said it’s seeking to raise $400 million to develop its spaceship fleet and infrastructure, and scale up its commercial operations.
However, the company reported a bigger-than-expected loss in its most recent quarter. And Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson’s satellite-launch company, Virgin Orbit Holdings Inc.
has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Caelus Partners’ Walter-Range said that he will also be listening out for any discussion of the competition between Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin as the latter looks toward a “return to flight” after its launch failure last year. “Blue Origin could become a stronger competitor for Virgin Galactic as it ramps up other operations under the NASA contracts that were awarded recently, or it could become less of a competitor for suborbital flight if the company decides to focus on orbital and lunar operations,” he told MarketWatch.
Related: Virgin Galactic could open up space to ‘everyday people,’ says former NASA astronaut
Virgin Galactic’s stock ended Monday’s session up 8.9%, its largest single-day percentage gain since June 28, when it rose 9.2%. The company’s shares have risen 23% in 2023, outpacing the S&P 500 index’s
gain of 19.5%.