Four mission specialists will also be on board, and Richard Branson is planning to join them. Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic’s Chief Astronaut Instructor will serve as the cabin lead and test director in space. The crew will be evaluating the cabin experience, including seat comfort and the weightless experience. The spaceflight’s live stream will be available for viewers on the company’s website – virgingalactic.com – and will be simulcast on its Twitter, YouTube and Facebook channels.
Another genius businessman and Branson's rival, Jeff Bezos, the founding father of the online retail empire Amazon, has sunk a fortune into his hobby of building rockets too and has announced his own trip to the edge of space on 20 July. He has invited three more persons to join him in the Blue Origin capsule system: Mr Bezos's brother Mark, the famous female aviator Wally Funk, 82 y o, and a mystery person who paid $28 million at auction for a seat.
However, Richard Branson seems to be completely unfazed by this circumstance, probably because he will succeed to become the first billionaire in space nine days before Bezos. “There’s room for 20 space companies to take people up there,” Branson told CNBC during the weekend. The companies of Branson, Bezos, and also Elon Musk's SpaceX are each flying spacecraft that can carry passengers, but in different ways, as the former two fly to the approximately 80-100 km edge of space while the latter may probably go further into orbit. The vehicle of Richard Branson can give people on board at least a few minutes of weightlessness and a view of the curvature of the Earth. Sir Richard Branson believes there is plenty of opportunity in the space market for all of them, and only Virgin Galactic’s shares are listed on the stock exchange for now while Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX are projects, which are closed for third party private investors.
According to TeleTrade analyst José Maria Castro Monteiro (https://www.teletrade.eu/pt), the fate of Virgin Galactic Holdings' shares (SPCE on New York Stock Exchange), has not been cloudless since the company's IPO a few years ago. Starting with $10 per share, this asset then took off like a rocket above $40 after successful tests, then again they landed back down into the area of $10 or $20 per share after identifying certain technical difficulties. The last sharp rise in price to $62.8 in February 2021 after the first report about a possible imminent flight of Richard Branson himself then gave way to a disappointing decline below $15 after the cancellation of a necessary test flight at the last moment. Then it turned out that the carrier aircraft that was going to launch the Unity ship to a given altitude needed to be renovated. But now everything seems to be O.K. with delivery equipment, and therefore SPCE stocks are on a roll again.
Some 600 individuals have already lodged deposits to take the ride. Virgin Galactic customers are now getting extremely close to having to hand over the full ticket price, which in some cases may reach $250,000. SPCE price rose 24% on Friday's July 2 pre-market trading to almost $55 already, then lost some of its altitude to land in the $45 area, but most forecasters are awaiting higher prices after the ongoing Richard Branson's flight in case it would be fully successful. Today the U.S. market is closed because of the Independence Day long holidays, but the following price dynamics may be seen from Tuesday July 6 until the very end of the working week. But as the Unity flight is scheduled on this Sunday, the market reaction may be extremely indefinite but strong immediately the day after the flight.
TeleTrade analyst considers that even an extremely high price range above $100 per share cannot be excluded from consideration as a possible reality after the flight, so the time until "H" hour on July 11 could be a good time for each investor to think about his or her personal attitude to Virgin Galactic. Of course, it may turn out that the general market consensus may put prices below $60 per share again considering it overvalued to focus on future financial results, but this can hardly be called a baseline scenario for now. Space tourism is a risky or venture sphere for investment, but still the attitude to breakthrough companies in other areas, for example, to Elon Musk's Tesla or to the crypto industry, where the financial fundamentals were also initially unclear, suggests a rather optimistic outcome for the investment view for Virgin Galactic.
José Maria Castro Monteiro
Market Analyst & Business Developer