Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. (NYSE:SPCE) filed for a stock sale of approximately $500 million on Monday after the company had successfully completed its first fully manned, rocket-powered test flight into space with founder Richard Branson on board.
The share sale announcement caused Virgin's stock to fall 17.3% by the end of the day, its most significant price drop in nearly 7 months. Despite the success of Virgin Galactic's space mission over the weekend, the stock sale signaled the company's need for additional funds as they outlined their goals of preparing to offer commercial space trips as soon as next year.
Virgin Galactic's trip marks an intensification of the billionaire space race as Branson's trip comes only 9 days ahead of Jeff Bezos' planned first test flight aboard his own private space company, Blue Origin.
Branson also laid out his target of offering about 400 flights per year by next year, a rate of more than one flight per day. Virgin Galactic will begin working through its backlog of around 600 booked customers that have each paid an average of $130,000 to fly with the company beginning next year.
Virgin Galactic plans to carry out at least two more test flights before it begins its commercial debut in 2022, and the company will continue to expand its operations and establish spaceports around the world until then.