The new final assembly manufacturing facility will produce the company’s next-generation Delta class spaceships
Virgin Galactic revealed that it is constructing a new spaceship manufacturing facility in Mesa, Arizona that can produce up to six spaceships per year.
The American spaceflight company said that it has signed a long-term lease for the new final assembly manufacturing facility, which will produce its next-generation Delta class spaceships.
The facility will provide hundreds of aerospace engineering and manufacturing jobs to the Greater Phoenix area, said Virgin Galactic.
Already under construction, the spaceship manufacturing facility is targeted to be operational fully by late 2023.
Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said: “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.
“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 company’s Delta class spaceship is a production vehicle that is designed to fly weekly. The spaceship is expected to support Virgin Galactic’s target of 400 flights per year from Spaceport America in New Mexico.
As per current schedules, the first of the spaceships is anticipated to begin revenue-generating payload flights in late 2025. The ships will progress to private astronaut flights in 2026, said the spaceflight company.
Presently, the company is selecting multiple suppliers to construct the spaceship’s major subassemblies, which will be supplied to the new spaceship manufacturing facility in Mesa for final assembly.
Virgin Galactic said that its motherships will ferry the completed spaceships to Spaceport America for flight test as well as commercial operation.
The final assembly manufacturing processes at the Mesa spaceship manufacturing facility will be supported by a digital twin architecture, said the company.
The architecture is said to facilitate seamless integration between Virgin Galactic and suppliers to allow real-time collaboration and strong governance, apart from boosting production efficiency and reliability.
Virgin Galactic aerospace systems president Swami Iyer 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 capitalise on the many advantages Mesa and the greater Phoenix area offer.”