The VMS Eve carrier aircraft drops the VSS Unity spacecraft before firing its rocket engine during Unity 25 spaceflight on May 25, 2023.
Galactic Virgo plans to suspend its spaceflight operations next year to focus resources on the development of its next-generation Delta-class spacecraft, the company announced Wednesday.
Although Virgin Galactic has been flying commercial missions on a monthly basis since June, the space tourism company will reduce the flight frequency of its VSS Unity spacecraft by a quarter, before taking a break “in mid-2024” to focus its resources on the final assembly of new Delta ships, the company announced in its third quarter results.
Virgin Galactic laid off approximately 185 employees, or about 18% of its workforce, on Tuesday in order to “reduce costs and strategically realign resources.” The reduction brings Virgin Galactic’s total workforce to 840 employees and is expected to generate approximately $25 million in annual savings.
The space tourism company posted a net loss of $104.6 million, or 28 cents per share, compared with an expected loss of 43 cents per share, according to analysts surveyed by LSEG, formerly known as Refinitiv.
Virgin Galactic generated $1.7 million in revenue during the quarter, up from $767,000 a year earlier. Earlier this month, Virgin Galactic completed its fifth commercial spaceflight.
Virgin Galactic stock rose 8% in after-hours trading from its close of $1.56 per share. The stock is down 55% since the start of the year.
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Virgin Galactic had cash and securities totaling $1.1 billion at the end of the quarter.
The company has spent a lot of money expanding its fleet beyond just the current VSS Unity spacecraft. Virgin Galactic is developing its Delta-class spacecraft to fly at an improved weekly rate. The company aims to open a new factory by mid-2024 in Phoenix for Delta production.
“We expect to have sufficient capital to commission our first two Delta ships and achieve positive cash flow in 2026,” Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic, said in a statement.