Advanced Television

Virgin Galactic selects Arizona for spaceplane

July 21, 2022

Sir Richard Branson-backed Virgin Galactic will build its new ‘Delta-class’ sub-orbital spaceplanes at Mesa, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix. Construction has already started.

The Mesa facility will assemble the new spaceplanes and Virgin says the facility will be fully operational by the end of 2023 with the first aircraft carrying passengers by 2026. Completed aircraft will be shipped to Virgin’s existing facility at its Spaceport America in New Mexico.

Virgin says it is targeting completing six aircraft per year and that the assembly plant will support “hundreds” of new jobs.

“Our spaceship final assembly factory is key to accelerating the production of our Delta fleet, enabling a rapid increase in flight capacity that will drive our revenue growth,” said Michael Colglazier, CEO at Virgin Galactic. “We’re thrilled to expand into the greater Phoenix area, which is home to outstanding aerospace talent, and we look forward to growing our team and fleet at our new facility.”

Virgin Galactic’s overall plan is to see the new Delta class aircraft flying on a weekly basis. The company’s existing vehicles (SpaceShipTwo and VSS Unity) can only fly about once per month.

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