Virgin Galactic picks Mesa as site for spaceplanes assembly
MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Virgin Galactic announced Thursday that it has selected the Phoenix suburb of Mesa as the site where it will assemble its next class of rocket ships.
Officials with the aerospace and space travel company said they have signed a long-term lease for a new final assembly manufacturing facility adjacent to the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.
They said the facility will be capable of producing up to six spaceships per year and bring hundreds of aerospace engineering and manufacturing jobs to Mesa.
Virgin Galactic officials said the Delta class suborbital spaceplanes will be designed to fly weekly, supporting the company’s target of 400 flights annually from Spaceport America in New Mexico.
The first of the spaceships is expected to start payload flights in late 2025 with private astronaut flights in 2026.
Last week, Virgin Galactic announced a deal with Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences to build two additional carrier aircraft to support its coming spacecraft fleet.