Virgin Galactic (SPCE) gets regulatory approval for space trips

Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE) stock was set to rise further Monday morning after the space tourism business said on Friday that it had cleared a regulatory obstacle in order to take passengers on suborbital spaceflights.

The stock was up 7.8% in premarket trade on Monday morning, following a 39 percent gain on Friday. The stock finished at $55.91 on Friday, more than doubling in value year to date.

Virgin said last week that its space-launch license had been expanded by the Federal Aviation Administration. Although the government does not regulate the safety of space-tourism flights like Virgin’s, the license is a stamp of approval for the company’s launch protocols.

The company has additional test flights planned before seats open to paying passengers.

Blue Origin LLC, another space-tourism company, plans a high-profile launch next month that will include founder Jeff Bezos as one of its first space passengers.