Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc., an aerospace and space travel company, recently announced it has signed a long-term lease for a new final assembly manufacturing facility in Mesa for its next-generation Delta class spaceships.
Located adjacent to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, the facility will be capable of producing up to six spaceships per year and will bring hundreds of highly skilled aerospace engineering and manufacturing jobs to the area, according to a release.
Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is operated by the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority. PMGAA consists of representation from Apache Junction, Mesa, Queen Creek, Gilbert, Gila River Indian Community and Phoenix.
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. Based on current schedules, the first of these ships is expected to commence revenue-generating payload flights in late 2025, progressing to private astronaut flights in 2026, the release states.
The company is currently 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,” Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said in the release. “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.”
The facility is already under construction and 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 enables seamless integration between the company and suppliers allowing for real-time collaboration, strong governance , and an increase in production efficiency and reliability, the release states.
“Arizona is a growing innovation hub, geographically located 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 of Mesa and the Greater Phoenix area offer,” Swami Iyer, Virgin Galactic’s president of aerospace systems, said in the release.
Find more information about Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc., an aerospace and space travel company, at virgingalactic.com.