Shares of Galactic Pristine Backgrounds (NYSE: SPCE) the stock fell Friday afternoon after SpaceX and its rival space tourism The Axiom Space company has confirmed the successful liftoff of its Ax-1 mission, sending four private astronauts through a week at the International Space Station (ISS).
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 8, 2022
Virgin Galactic shares are down 2% at 1:50 p.m. ET on the news.
Axiom tweeted the successful launch of Ax-1 at 11:18 a.m. ET, confirming that its four astronauts reached weightlessness 15 minutes later and began their 20-plus-hour journey to the ISS, with an expected arrival. around 7:45 a.m. ET tomorrow.
Axiom described the Ax-1 mission as “a new chapter” in spaceflight, and NASA said it “takes commerce to a whole new level”, opening up the ISS to commercial companies to conduct experiments in space – and paving the way for the eventual construction of private space stations in orbit.
The company already has three other missions lined up to advance this goal – Ax-2, Ax-3 and Ax-4 – and expects them to be launched to the ISS.”approximately every six months, subject to NASA approval.”
So what does all of this mean for Virgin Galactic, as its small fleet of spaceplanes remain stubbornly, silently glued to the tarmac at Spaceport America in New Mexico? Simply this:
As companies like Blue Origin launches tourists regularly at the edge of space, and SpaceX sends tourists on orbital trips around Earth – and helping Axiom send even more tourists on trips to the space station – Virgin Galactic’s once-revolutionary “space tourism” business looks increasingly stale.
If Virgin Galactic’s investors are feeling a bit discouraged by its lack of progress today, I can’t say I blame them.
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