Virgin Galactic Building New Spaceships; to Up Flight Frequency by 2026

Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc., has signed a long-term lease for a new final assembly manufacturing facility for its Delta-class spaceships. The facility in Mesa, Greater Phoenix area, will be adjacent to the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. It will be capable of producing up to six spaceships per year and provide hundreds of aerospace engineering and manufacturing jobs to the area.

The Delta class spaceship is Virgin Galactic’s production vehicle that is designed to fly weekly, supporting the company’s target of 400 flights per year from Spaceport America. The first of these is likely to start revenue-generating payload flights in late 2025, progressing to private astronaut flights in 2026.

The aerospace and space-travel company is selecting various suppliers to build the spaceship’s major subassemblies, which will be delivered to the new Mesa facility for final assembly. Virgin Galactic motherships will ferry completed spaceships to Spaceport America, New Mexico for flight test and commercial operation.

“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 Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier.

Construction of the facility is underway. It is expected to be fully operational by late 2023. Final assembly manufacturing processes at the facility will be underpinned by a digital twin architecture which allows seamless integration between the company and suppliers, allowing for real-time collaboration, strong governance and an increase in production efficiency and reliability.

Swami Iyer, Virgin Galactic’s president of aerospace systems said, “Arizona is a growing innovation hub, geographically situated between our existing operations in southern California and New Mexico. This will allow us to accelerate progress from conceptual design to production to final assembly at scale as we capitalize on the many advantages Mesa and the Greater Phoenix area offer.”

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