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What happened

Investors pushed down the share price of Virgin Galactic Holdings (NYSE: SPCE) once again today following the company’s latest successful launch of customers into space last week.

Despite Virgin Galactic’s launch success, investors are likely concerned that the space stock won’t turn a profit anytime soon. The stock was down by 6.5% as of 12:02 p.m. ET on Monday.

So what

On Friday, Virgin Galactic successfully flew three passengers into space. The flight was the company’s fourth successful spaceflight in as many months. But investors are losing their enthusiasm for the company’s stock, and today’s decline brings the share price down 34% over the past month.

So why is the stock pulling back when Virgin Galactic customers are rocketing into space? Because while the company is successfully getting its galactic flights off the ground, its spending is skyrocketing in the process.

The company spends $125 million per quarter in operating expenses and has sold a backlog of about 800 flights for $250,000 per ticket. Right now, just one ship launches per month, and with just two paying customers. Virgin Galactic reopened ticket sales a couple of years ago at the much higher price of $450,000 per ticket.

Investors are doing their own back-of-the-envelope math and figuring out that the backlog of paid-for flights at $250,000 per ticket won’t cover the $125 million in quarterly operating costs. And even with more-recent ticket sales bringing in much more money, it will still take years before the company even comes close to breaking even, if it ever gets there.

Now what

After experiencing some stratospheric highs in 2021, Virgin Galactic’s share price has been on a long descent back to earth over the past year, falling 64% over the past 12 months.

Investors aren’t very optimistic about companies that aren’t profitable right now, and Virgin Galactic’s stock is a prime example. While initially exciting to some investors, sending customers into space needs to be more than just a cool idea — it has to make money, too.

With the company far from profitability right now, investors might want to observe this stock from the bleachers instead of strapping into the cockpit.

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Chris Neiger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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