Following an aborted test flight in December, Virgin Galactic (SPCE) announced Monday that its next test flight window will open on Feb. 13. SPCE stock rose.
Richard Branson’s space company said that the next powered flight will test the work that has been done since it aborted a powered test flight of its spaceplane in December.
The vehicle failed to reach space after the rocket motor ignition sequence was halted.
The February test will also include the original objectives from the December flight, which was supposed to complete data-gathering for the final two FAA verification and validation milestones.
That will allow commercial flights on SpaceShipTwo to begin. The flight will also test the customer cabin as well as upgraded horizontal stabilizers and flight controls.
“We are pleased to be able to get back to the skies and continue our flight test program,” said CEO Michael Colglazier in a release. “I would like to thank our team for their continued hard work and diligence in working towards this important milestone for Virgin Galactic.”
Shares rallied 5.8% to 46.87 on the stock market today. Wall Street analysts have been very bullish on SPCE stock for months despite the lack of revenue-generating flights.
Virgin Galactic is also among heavily shorted stocks that saw interest from retail investors. Nearly 20% of its 210 million share float is sold short. SPCE stock soared to a new high of 59.43 on Jan. 27 before retreating.
Shares of Boeing (BA), whose venture capital arm has invested in Virgin Galactic, edged up 0.2%.
Virgin Galactic has said it would redo the test flight before moving on to its second powered test flight. That second flight plus FAA certification should clear the way for the start of commercial service.