It's time for shares of Virgin Galactic to fall back to solid ground after this summer's historic flight with Richard Branson, according to Morgan Stanley. Analyst Kristine Liwag downgraded the stock to underweight from equal weight, saying in a note to clients on Wednesday that the excitement around Virgin Galactic should cool off as the flight schedule enters a quieter period. "We expect shares to return towards long-term valuation of $25 as the company completes a catalyst rich period after Sir Richard Branson's successful flight and transitions to a prolonged period of no flights," the note said. Morgan Stanley's $25 price target is 20% below where the stock closed on Tuesday. Virgin Galactic has an flight scheduled for September , but will then enter a period of maintenance for its Eve mothership. Morgan Stanley pointed to that down period as a time for the stock to retreat. "During this heavy maintenance period, Virgin Galactic will not be able to conduct any space flights until summer of 2022. We view it positively that the company is investing in increasing its long-term space flight capacity; however, these investments take time," the note said. Virgin Galactic's stock has been extremely volatile this year, and shares are up about 49% since the May test flight that paved the way for founder Branson's landmark flight last month. -CNBC's Michael Bloom and Michael Sheetz contributed to this report.
Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson prepares to spray champagne after flying with a crew in Virgin Galactic's passenger rocket plane VSS Unity to the edge of space at Spaceport America near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, U.S., July 11, 2021.