Virgin Galactic won clearance to fly passengers into space after the Federal Aviation Administration issued the green light.
The move intensifies the space race between Richard Branson and rival Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin.
Shares jumped heading for the highest close since February which would be $54.53.
Ticker Security Last Change Change % SPCE VIRGIN GALACTIC HOLDINGS INC. 52.44 +12.14 +30.12%
"The Company also announced that it has completed an extensive review of data gathered from its May 22 test flight and confirmed that the flight performed well against all flight objectives. The adjustment to Virgin Galactic’s operator’s license, which the Company has held since 2016, marks the first time the FAA has licensed a spaceline to fly customers," the company disclosed.
Bezos and his brother Mark are set to blast off with a mystery passenger who paid $28 million to join the flight set for July 28. Their flight prompted congratulations from Branson, who in a tweet signaled, "Watch this space…," which some took as a hint VG would have some similar news.
"I'm keeping my eye on it, but they're going to have to meet the same rigorous physical and psychological examination for any other professional astronaut," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told FOX Business exclusively. "We want the crew that's already up there on the space station to be safe when they have visitors and you should expect nothing less."