Virgin Galactic (NYSE: SPCE) surged 15% as investors reacted to the company’s news about preparing for its next test flight. The space tourism company stated that it would conduct the next SpaceShipTwo Unity test flight on May 22, subject to technical checks and weather. The announcement comes following the conclusion of VMS Eve’s maintenance review. VMS Eve is a jet aircraft expected to carry SpaceShipTwo to a height almost 50,000 feet.’
Michael Colglazier, the company’s CEO, said that following a thorough inspection and analysis of the mothership, the company has cleared its SpaceFlight System for the upcoming flight. Two pilots will crew the VSS Unity test flight, and they will carry research loads as part of the NASA Flight Opportunities program.
Richard Branson’s dream of having a space tourism company faces competition from Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin. Last week Blue Origin said that it would start selling rocket tickets for its New Shepard. Virgin Galactic has two ships, while Blue Origin has one. As space tourism heats up, SPCE is a stock to watch in the coming weeks.