Virgin Galactic, Alcoa & extra

Check out the companies that are making the headlines in after-hours trading

Virgo galactic – The space company’s shares fell more than 11% during expanded trading Thursday after Virgin Galactic launched its commercial space tourism service on the fourth quarter 2022.

Alcoa Alcoa stock rose more than 5% following the aluminum company’s third quarter results, which exceeded expectations for sales and earnings. Alcoa earned $ 2.05 per unitemed share, while analysts polled by Refinitiv were expecting $ 1.80. Revenue of $ 3.11 billion was also above the expected $ 2.93 billion.

Hologic The medical device company’s stock rose 1% after Hologic signed a definitive agreement to acquire Bolder Surgical for $ 160 million.

Virgin Galactic SPCE delays industrial spaceflights to This fall 2022

Virgo galactic is postponing the start of its commercial space tourism service to the fourth quarter of 2022, with the company announcing a reorganization of its development and test flight schedule on Thursday.

The space tourism company will begin renovating and upgrading its spacecraft and carrier aircraft this month. A process that, according to a spokesman for Virgin Galactic told CNBC, is expected to take eight to ten months – with completion between June and August.

Virgin Galactic had planned to begin the “improvement period” after the next space flight called Unity 23, requiring “another physical inspection”.

With work on Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spacecraft and VMS Eve carrier aircraft commencing this month, the process will make mid-2022 the earliest time the Unity 23 can fly.

“The reorganization of our improvement period and flight Unity 23 underscores our security practices, provides the most efficient route to commercial services and is the right approach for our business and our customers,” said Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic in a statement.

Virgin Galactic’s shares fell 20% in early trading on Friday. The stock rose just 1% for 2021 at the close of trading on Thursday.

Unity 23 will now come after the improvement process that Virgin Galactic said was “designed to further increase margins for improved reliability, durability and reduced maintenance”. Virgin Galactic had two more space flights planned for the third quarter of 2022 – Unity 24 and Unity 25, the latter marking the launch of the commercial service – but these no longer have public target dates.

The renovation phase should also start in September, but the Federal Aviation Administration had left Virgin Galactic down for most of the last month to investigate a mishap that occurred during the flight that transported the company’s founder Sir Richard Branson. The FAA gave Virgin Galactic permission to return to the flight upon completion of the investigation.

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How Blue Origin, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic house race might influence the ambiance

Billionaire businessman Jeff Bezos will launch with three crew members aboard a New Shepard rocket on the world’s first unattended suborbital flight from Blue Origin Launch Site 1 near Van Horn, Texas on July 20, 2021.

Joe Skipper | Reuters

The space industry is taking off after decades of stagnation.

Driven primarily by the rapidly evolving space programs of Elon Musk’s SpaceX and China, the world experienced 114 orbital launches in 2018 – the first three-digit number since 1990. This year, the orbital launches are slated to be for the first time since the 1970s. And that count doesn’t include Jeff Bezos’ most recent suborbital tourism trips Blue origin and Richard Bransons Virgo galactic.

Between planning NASA Moon return, SpaceX is constructing a massive “mega-constellation” of Internet satellite, China Crew of a space station and suborbital companies sending crews of tourists to the edge of space, launches could soon be the order of the day.

But will the new space boom have its price on the planet?

“While we obviously need space launches and satellites, when you think about things like space tourism, you think about the environmental impact,” says Ian Whittaker, lecturer in space physics at Nottingham Trent University in the UK

Researchers are trying to figure out how the Earth might respond to stronger clouds of smoke from rocket exhaust by examining the total mix of carbon dioxide, soot, alumina, and other particles that are collectively emitted by a spreading variety of rockets.

So far, the fledgling space industry is not seriously threatening the environment and likely has room for growth. However, it is unclear whether that will change as the new space race accelerates.

“I don’t think we know enough at this point to pinpoint exactly what this future should look like,” said Martin Ross, atmospheric researcher at The Aerospace Corp. “We just don’t have this information yet.”

Effects on carbon dioxide and climate change

As the world grapples with the move away from fossil fuels, the rise of a new industry – especially one with huge clouds bubbling out from powerful engines – could seem unsettling.

Most rockets emit more planet-warming carbon than many airplanes. A few minutes of weightlessness on the Virgin Galactic spacecraft will leave a carbon footprint comparable to flying business class across the Atlantic, and an orbital launch of SpaceX’s upcoming fully reusable spacecraft will emit as much carbon dioxide as one continuously flying an aircraft for about three years, according to a back-of-the-envelope calculation by Whittaker.

A spokesman for Virgin Galactic said the company is “exploring ways to offset carbon emissions for future customer flights.” While SpaceX did not comment directly on CO2 emissions, musk Has supports a CO2 tax Politics. Blue Origin has said its New Shepard missile uses carbon-free fuels like hydrogen and oxygen.

But there are far more commercial airplane flights than space launches – 39 million against 114 in 2018 – too many for the space industry to catch up in even the most ambitious of scenarios. Today missiles burn collectively approx. 0.1% as much fuel as airplanes, which makes their CO2 emissions compared to a rounding error.

Whittaker points out, however, that such calculations neglect the unknown, but likely substantial, carbon footprint of producing, transporting, and cooling the tons of fuel used in space launches

“While it doesn’t coincide with aviation, it’s still a great add-on,” he says.

To achieve carbon neutrality, he hopes the industry will follow Blue Origin’s lead and use carbon-free fuels as well as greener operations by producing fuel locally from renewable energy sources.

What missiles leave in the atmosphere

“If CO2 isn’t in the action, it’s the particles,” says Ross, who has spent decades studying the environmental impact of takeoffs.

The glowing flames that shoot out of a rocket’s engines indicate that when the vehicle burns, soot is produced, technically known as “black carbon”. Any rocket that burns carbon-based fuels like kerosene or methane injects these particles directly into the upper reaches of the atmosphere, where they are likely to circulate for four to five years.

There the growing layer of soot looks like a fine black umbrella. It absorbs solar radiation and effectively prevents sunlight from reaching the surface of the planet, similar to what is suggested Geoengineering schemes intends to temporarily cool the earth might work. Shiny alumina particles emitted by the solid rocket engines of NASA’s upcoming Space Launch System and China’s Long March 11 vehicle make the phenomenon worse by reflecting sunlight.

The effects of this unintended experiment are unknown – except that they could be significant. A simple simulation found by Ross and a colleague in 2014 that the primary cooling effect of dozens of rocket launches is already equivalent to the warming effect of carbon dioxide released by millions of commercial flights.

That’s not to say that the aerospace industry is offsetting the environmental impact of flying. Infusing the atmosphere with novel particles has complex effects, says Ross. For example, their rough model showed that rocket launches cooled some locations by 0.5 degrees Celsius, while they heated the Arctic by more than 1 degree Celsius. And the simulation didn’t try to include side effects, such as whether takeoffs would create clouds or kill. More sophisticated modeling could show that exhaust particulate matter exacerbates overall warming, says Ross.

Other emissions and ozone

Space launches also worry some researchers because rockets emit their exhaust gases directly into the stratosphere, home to the protective ozone layer that blocks harmful ultraviolet light.

Most solid rocket engines emit alumina particles and chlorine gas, which promote chemical reactions that break down ozone into molecular oxygen. SpaceX and Blue Origin have switched to liquid fuels, which are typically less harmful but still contain by-products, including water vapor and nitrogen oxides, which can break down ozone during the years they circulate in the upper atmosphere.

“They’re not harmless,” says Eloise Marais, an atmospheric researcher at University College London. “They have an impact on the atmosphere.”

Marais is working on a prediction of how the current portfolio of rocket fuels could thin the ozone layer in the not too distant future. She has explored the impact of current launches and a speculative scenario where space tourism is proving popular and reliable enough to support a few suborbital launches a day and an orbital launch every week.

The calculations need to be reviewed before release, Marais says, but preliminary results suggest that while today’s launches have little impact on ozone, a booming space tourism industry could begin to change that.

“The effect is big enough that we could worry if the industry grew beyond what we speculate,” she says.

How often the companies will start in the future remains uncertain. Virgin Galactic says it hopes to operate at some point 400 flights per year. SpaceX introduces itself Passengers with spaceship shuttle between major cities in less than an hour, competing with commercial airlines.

Balancing space advances with environmental concerns

Access to space has revolutionized weather forecasting, communications technology, and researchers’ ability to understand how human activities have changed the Earth’s climate. It has also enabled space-based facilities like the International Space Station and a fleet of space telescopes to conduct transformative basic research.

In the future, a thriving space industry could create practical projects from clean, space-based solar energy to Asteroid mining, as well as the search for life in the solar system and other scientific endeavors.

Researchers like Ross don’t want to stop this progress. Rather, they hope to make this possible by identifying potential environmental problems early on. Today’s embryonic space industry is largely harmless, and Ross suggests that an environmental research program could help keep it that way even at maturity.

Stratospheric aircraft could scan rocket clouds directly to learn exactly what they are spewing out, while satellites and ground-based observatories monitor the atmosphere for short-, medium- and long-term effects of take-offs. There is also the unknown effects of obsolete satellites “burning up” and throwing tons of metal particles into the upper atmosphere. Supercomputers could run extensive simulations to determine what levels and types of space activity can be safely conducted.

“We want to avoid a surprising future,” says Ross. “We would like to say that the space industry can now move forward sustainably.”

Virgin Galactic completes third spaceflight of VSS Unity

Sir Richard Branson stands in front of the trading of Virgin Galactic (SPCE) in New York (USA) on October 28, 2019 on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Richard Branson Virgin Galactic IPO NYSE

Virgo Galactic took a step closer to developing its space tourism system on Saturday and successfully flew its first space flight in more than two years.

The company’s starship, named VSS Unity, was lifted to an altitude of approximately 44,000 feet by a carrier aircraft called the VMS Eve. The plane then released the spaceship, which fired its rocket engine and accelerated it to more than three times the speed of sound.

After a slow setback of microgravity at the edge of space, Unity returned with a glide through the atmosphere and landed on the runway at Spaceport America in New Mexico, from which it had previously taken off.

“Now in space,” the company tweeted during the flight.

Pilots CJ Sturckow and Dave Mackay flew Unity. The couple previously flew into space, as did fellow Virgin Galactic pilots Michael “Sooch” Masucci and Mark Stucky, and head astronaut trainer Beth Moses, who each received astronaut wings after the company’s first two space flights.

The US officially regards pilots who have flown 50 miles as astronauts.

Virgin Galactic pilots head to the company’s SpaceShipTwo Unity spacecraft, which is attached to the Eve jet carrier aircraft.

Virgo Galactic

Virgin Galactic’s Unity spaceship is designed to accommodate up to six passengers along with the two pilots. The company has approximately 600 reservations for tickets on future flights, which sell for prices between $ 200,000 and $ 250,000.

The space flight is the first since February 2019 and the third to date. Virgin Galactic flew two space tests from its development facility in California’s Mojave Desert before moving to its operational base in New Mexico. The company expected to meet some or all of the remaining Federal Aviation Administration milestones with this flight and obtain a key license to conduct regular space flights.

Unity also carried NASA-funded payloads on the mission as part of the agency’s Flight Opportunities program.

Virgin Galactic’s shares rose 22% in the last two trading days after The company announced plans for the space testAvoidance of a possible maintenance problem that threatened to delay the flight.

The spaceflight is one of four remaining flights for Virgin Galactic to complete development of its SpaceShipTwo missile system. The second spaceflight test will carry four passengers to test the spacecraft’s cabin, while the third test is to fly the founder Sir Richard Branson.

The company’s flight test program has been significantly delayed in recent months. Saturday’s spaceflight was a rerun of a December attempt interrupted by an electromagnetic interference issue, and the company’s promised start of commercial service has been postponed from mid-2020 to early 2022.

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Virgin Galactic unveils VSS Think about, the primary of SpaceShip III collection

The first SpaceShip III vehicle, VSS Imagine.

Virgo Galactic

Virgo Galactic The newest spacecraft in its fleet, VSS Imagine, was unveiled on Tuesday. The spaceship is the first of its next-generation SpaceShip III vehicle class.

With the launch of VSS Imagine, the space tourism company can begin testing a second spacecraft as Virgin Galactic continues through final development tests for VSS Unity. The next space flight test is expected in May.

“In order for business to scale in the places we aspire to, we need two things: we need a lot more ships than we do now, and we also need the ships that we are advancing to be built a way like them can be serviced in a way that we can have much faster [turnaround times between flights] than what we have with Unity, “Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic, told CNBC.

VSS Imagine is the third spaceship the company has built. The VSS Enterprise was destroyed in a fatal test flight accident in 2014 while the VSS Unity made two space flights. last in February 2019. Colglazier emphasized that VSS Imagine “was designed to take into account the lessons learned from all flight tests with Unity”.

“It allows us to access things in the right way. We know what things need to be routinely addressed so that we can give people easy access,” said Colglazier.

Virgin Galactic’s shares fell 1.4% in premarket trading from a previous closing price of $ 29.21 per share.

The SpaceShip III class

Colglazier said the VSS Imagine is the first of the company’s SpaceShip III generation, adding that it is already “getting the manufacturing team to get to work” on the next spacecraft to be called the VSS Inspire. The biggest improvement between the SpaceShip II and SpaceShip III classes is turnaround time, both in terms of how each spacecraft is manufactured and the amount of maintenance required between flights, Colgalzier said.

SpaceShip III was developed using a more “modular” approach than the previous generation, as Colglazier noted that VSS Unity was “basically built in-place” which is “just a slower process”.

“The SpaceShip III class is made up of components – assemblies are built in parallel,” he said.

Virgin Galactic President Mike Moses defined the “modular” advances of VSS Imagine as a breakdown of production into sections: “The fuselage, the cabin, the wing body, the flat planar shape of the wings, and then the tail booms – all became separate built. “”

The company hasn’t yet figured out how many SpaceShip III vehicles it plans to build, but Coglazier said more spacecraft will be needed to meet the company’s backlog. Virgin Galactic also plans to fully reopen ticket sales after the flight test with the founder Sir Richard Branson, expected this summer.

While SpaceShip III offers a number of enhancements, Colglazier said it was still “a pretty handcrafted piece,” and manufacturing doesn’t yet have what “I call production-level tools”.

Virgin Galactic has created a new in-house program called Delta Class that the company is designing with the goal of “building spaceships in parallel”. While the Delta-Class will be functionally identical to the SpaceShip III vehicles, Colglazier said the Deltas “are where I think we are at the forefront of manufacturing”.

In addition, Virgin Galactic is reviewing potential partners “to effectively accelerate our next mothership program,” said Colglazier.

Virgin Galactic has a carrier aircraft or “mothership” called the VMS Eve. Colglazier said last month the company will need to build more to meet its target flight rates. He believes it is likely that Virgin Galactic could find “some great partnerships” between aerospace companies to build the next carrier aircraft, as opposed to the company which is “building its own factory to assemble mother ships”.

Work will continue towards the May test flight

Virgin Galactic pilots head to the company’s SpaceShipTwo Unity spacecraft, which is attached to the Eve jet carrier aircraft.

Virgo Galactic

Moses said Virgin Galactic was addressing the problem of electromagnetic interference delayed the second attempt of his space flight test in December to May.

“You can never completely eliminate EMI – it’s an artifact of aerospace electrical systems – but we could really reduce the source a bit, and that’s what the team was doing,” said Moses.

Electromagnetic interference was the main cause of the flight abandonment in December. Moses said Virgin Galactic made changes to some of its “electronic components” as well as the sensors that those components then read and use to tell what is happening “in VSS Unity.

“We implemented these two changes and tested them on site. Now we’re installing them on the ship,” said Moses. “We will be doing a full end-to-end review of the ship. Assuming these results are good, we still seem on track for this May target.”

Colglazier’s view of the space SPAC boom

Virgin Galactic went public through a deal With Chamath Palihapitiya Special Purpose Acquisition Company in 2019. Numerous companies followed recently. In the past six months, seven space companies announced SPAC deals: Redwire Space, Missile laboratory, Spire Global, Black sky, Astra, AST & Science, and Momentus.

Colglazier, who joined Virgin Galactic after the IPO, believes two factors play a role.

“The US government [has opened] Entering the aerospace markets and giving commercial companies the ability to bring levels of innovation that probably didn’t exist before, “Colglazier said. The second is that as much innovation is coming your way as you see. The last couple of years are starting to see technology getting to where innovation and just some kind of entrepreneurial focus are finding ever more opportunities. “

He believes that these factors “combine with a good capital market environment” to “create a growth industry here that did not exist a few years ago”.

“Space is back in the consumer’s mind,” added Colglazier.