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Space SPAC Index – Virgin Galactic Sets Next Flight Window

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
August 30, 2023
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Space SPAC Index – Virgin Galactic Sets Next Flight Window
Jon Goodwin waves during the Galactic 02 tourism flight.
Image credit: Virgin Galactic.

Welcome to S-SPACi! In this week’s edition, Virgin Galactic announced its next flight, Rocket Lab flew a used engine, Spire Global won a contract expansion, a new documentary chronicled Virgin Orbit’s final launch, and the latest news about Astra Space and Intuitive Machines.

Virgin Galactic’s next launch

Virgin Galactic (NYSE: SPCE) said the window for the company’s third commercial suborbital flight will open on September 8. The company said it will fly three of its “founding astronauts,” customers who bought tickets nearly two decades ago at a cost of $200,000. Tickets now cost $450,000.

Virgin Galactic has not identified the three customers. However, Las Vegas real estate mogul Ken Baxter, who claims he was the first person to purchase a ticket in 2004, has been running a countdown clock for the flight on his website for his flight on September 8.

Space SPAC Index
August 30, 2023

CompanyFirst Trading DayOpening Share PriceHighClosing Price
Astra Space (Nasdaq: ASTR)July 1, 2021$12.30$16.95 (7/2/21)$0.26
AST SpaceMobile (Nasdaq: ASTS)April 7, 2021$11.63$15.48 (6/30/21)$3.96 (NYSE: BBAI)Dec. 8, 2021$9.84$16.12 (4/6/22)$1.74
BlackSky (NYSE: BKSY)Sept. 10, 2021$11.80$13.20 (9/16/21)$1.39
Intuitive Machines (Nasdaq: LUNR)Feb. 14, 2023$10.00$136.00 (2/20/23)$5.19
Momentus (Nasdaq: MNTS)Aug. 13, 2021$10.8512.87 (9/7/21)$9.04
Planet Labs (NYSE: PL)Dec. 8, 2021$11.25$11.65 (12/8/21)$3.32
Redwire (NYSE: RDW)Sept. 3, 2021$10.70$16.98 (10/25/21)$3.26
Rocket Lab (Nasdaq: RKLB)Aug. 25, 2021$11.58$21.34 (9/9/21) $6.38
Satellogic (Nasdaq: SATL)Jan. 26, 2022$9.19$10.92 (5/4/22) $1.57
Satixfy (NYSE AMERICAN: SATX)Oct. 28, 2022$8.29$51.70
Spire (NYSE: SPIR)Aug. 17, 2021$10.25 $19.50 (9/22/21)$0.56
Terran Orbital (NYSE: LLAP)March 28, 2022$12.69$12.69 (3/28/22) $1.19
Virgin Galactic (NYSE: SPCE)Oct. 28, 2019$11.79$62.80 (2/4/21)$2.65
Stock Price Source: Google Finance.

Rocket Lab flies reused engine

Rocket Lab (Nasdaq: RKLB) reached a milestone on August 23 when it launched an Electron rocket with a pre-flown Rutherford engine. The 3D-printed engine was one of nine Rutherford engines on the Electron first stage for the “We Love the Nightlife” mission. The rocket launched the Acadia-1 satellite for Capella Space from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand.

Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck said the reused engine, which had previously flown on the “There and Back Again” mission launched in May 2022, performed on par with the eight new engines. The engine underwent extensive qualification and acceptance testing to certify it to fly again. Rocket Lab described the flight as one of the final tests before the company would attempt to refly a first-stage booster for the first time in the coming months.

Rocket Lab recovered Electron’s first stage for the Acadia-1 launch after it parachute-landed in the Pacific Ocean. The company has recovered eight first stages.

Infospectrum expands contract with Spire Global

Infospectrum has expanded its agreement with Spire Global (NYSE: SPIR) to acquire historical vessel-tracking data and port event information. Spire’s data will provide visibility into a vessel’s entire journey. Infospectrum will use Spire’s data to deliver insights and solutions for risk management, regulatory compliance and trade approvals.

Spire Global to participate in NGA prize challenge

Spire Global will participate in phase four of MagQuest, a prize challenge to improve how Earth’s magnetic field is measured. The challenge, which is sponsored by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, has multi-million-dollar prizes.

“Spire will design, develop and launch a satellite that will provide a novel approach to geomagnetic data collection for the World Magnetic Model (WMM),” the company said in a press release. “The satellite will carry a first-of-its-kind diamond quantum magnetometer system developed by SBQuantum. Spire will demonstrate operations of the satellite system and provide data to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center for assessment.”

Intuitive Machines signs deal with Crisium

Intuitive Machines (Nasdaq: LUNR) has entered into an intellectual property agreement with Crisium Ltd. for the creation and sale of blockchain-based digital collectibles using Intuitive Machines’ media. Crisium Ltd., which is a Web3 company, plans to build a space exploration community that will bring humanity closer to space exploration.

Astra Space’s acquisition of Apollo Fusion

TechCrunch published a story chronicling launch provider Astra Space’s (Nasdaq: ASTR) chaotic acquisition of spacecraft engine manufacturer Apollo Fusion in 2021.

“Apollo Fusion quickly disintegrated, with the majority of the original team resigning, leaving few people to staff the one part of the business that had substantial customer demand and the promise of revenue,” TechCrunch reported.

Astra recently decided to delay work on its new launch vehicle in order to focus on producing Apollo Fusion’s spacecraft engines. The company has been struggling with growing losses, dwindling cash reserves, and a low stock price that closed at $0.26 on Wednesday (August 30).

Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne rocket ignites moments after being released by carrier aircraft Cosmic Girl for the company's Launch Demo 2 mission on January 17th, 2021.
Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket ignites moments after being released by carrier aircraft Cosmic Girl for the company’s Launch Demo 2 mission on January 17th, 2021. Image credit: Virgin Orbit.

Virgin Orbit documentary debuts

Channel 4 has debuted a new documentary, “A Very British Space Launch,” which chronicles Virgin Orbit’s last-ever launch from Spaceport Cornwall in England. The world’s first orbital launch from the United Kingdom failed in early January, helping to drive Richard Branson’s company into bankruptcy. The company ceased operations in May.

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