Virgin Shares Plunge As Aborted Launch Creates New Space-Program Delay

After all of SpaceX’s aborted launches and outright failures (none of which, thankfully, resulted in the loss of human life), you’d think the market would have internalized the notion that rocket launches sometimes get aborted three or four times before the circumstances align in just the right way.

Not so.

Shares of Robinhood favorite Virgin Galactic plunged 17% in premarked trading to $26.61 early in the NY morning after the company’s push to be the first to shuttle tourists to space suffered another setback when a test flight was cancelled shortly after takeoff because of a technical issue.

CEO Michael Colglazier broke the news in a tweet after the launch on Saturday.

Wall Street analysts signing in Sunday night warned that the failure is likely to lead to another delay for the stock’s space program that could last weeks, according to Myles Walton at UBS.

“The failure to reach orbit importantly validated safe failure modes for a rocket misfire, which likely won’t make the market feel better Monday but is actually an important validation of safety of the architecture,” Walton wrote.

That’s bad news for a company that’s almost as well known now for its pioneering position in the SPAC investment craze as its push to send tourists to space.