As Bezos goes into space, Virgin Galactic’s stock comes down to Earth for a minute

July 20, 2021, 8:42 PM UTC

As Jeff Bezos launched into space early this morning, the stock price of Virgin Galactic fell back to Earth.

The stock tumbled by as much as 8% Tuesday morning but had mostly recovered to end the day down by 0.74%, as investors framed the recent civilian space launches by Bezos’s Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic as a modern-day billionaire space race.

Branson went to space on July 11, beating out Bezos by more than a week. The day after Branson’s few minutes of weightlessness and a safe return to Earth, shares of Branson’s company Virgin Galactic jumped as much as 22% premarket.

The early morning spike in Virgin Galactic’s stock price added $841 million to the company’s market value on July 12.

Virgin Galactic closed at $40.69 following Branson’s space journey but has steadily fallen since then. It closed at $32.16. Blue Origin is not a publicly traded company.

Despite some competition between the billionaires, both have played nice on social media. Following Branson’s flight, Bezos congratulated him on Instagram.

“@richardbranson and crew, congratulations on the flight. Can’t wait to join the club!”

After Bezos safely landed Tuesday, Branson returned the gesture on social media.

Virgin Galactic’s license to send commercial flights into space was the first license the FAA authorized, on June 25. Two weeks later it issued a license for Blue Origin.

The space flights have been described by some as opening a new frontier of space tourism. Although both companies plan to offer more flights in coming years, the prices are still far out of reach for the average person.

Beginning next year, Virgin Galactic will fulfill some of the 600 tickets for space flights it has already sold at reportedly $250,000 a piece. Blue Origin hasn’t said exactly how many tickets it has sold for its space flights or at what price, but Bezos said Tuesday that the company has sold nearly $100 million worth of tickets.

Despite the Tuesday drop, Virgin Galactic’s stock price is still up about 35% year to date.

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