Constellations, Launch, New Space and more…

Virgin Galactic Stock Soars on Successful WhiteKnightTwo Flight Test

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
February 15, 2023
Filed under ,
WhiteKnightTwo in flight during the Oshkosh Air Show in 2019. (Credit: D. Miller)

Virgin Galactic’s stock soared 13.5% on Wednesday as the company’s WhiteKnightTwo mothership took to the skies for the first time in more than 15 months. The stock rose by $0.71 from its close on Tuesday to close today at $6.01 as news of the flight test from the Mojave Air and Space Port at Rutan Field in California spread on social media.

WhiteKnightTwo VMS Eve took off from runway 30 at 10:30 a.m. PST. It landed 2 hours 33 minutes later after soaring as high as 41,425 feet over the Mojave Desert.

The 14.5 year old aircraft, which air launches the SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity suborbital rocket plane, has been undergoing a series of modifications in Mojave since Oct. 30, 2021. The successful flight test is one of the major milestones before VMS Eve returns to its operational base at Spaceport America in New Mexico.

Virgin Galactic plans to conduct one more flight test of VSS Unity in New Mexico during the first quarter of the year. The flight will have four company employees in the passenger cabin to test the experience.

That flight test will be followed by a paid flight that will carry three Italian Air Force pilots. Virgin Galactic will then begin flying the first of 900 ticket holders, some of whom first put down money when Virgin Galactic began selling tickets in 2005.

Virgin Galactic originally sold tickets for $200,000; it raised the price to $250,000 in 2013. The price has since been increased to $450,000.