Virgin Galactic is a commercial spaceflight company within the Virgin Group that aims to provide suborbital spaceflights to space tourists departing from Spaceport America. Virgin Galactic’s spaceplane, SpaceShipTwo, successfully completed a crewed spaceflight in December 2018 and carried its first passenger in February 2019. Plans to depart from New Mexico are pending final testing in Mojave, California.
Let the Future Begin
On May 10, 2019 Sir Richard Branson announced that Virgin Galactic Operations would be moving its California operations to Spaceport America near Las Cruces over the coming summer, in preparation for initiating the world’s first commercial space flights. 100 staff and their families will be moving to Las Cruces.
“New Mexico delivered on its promise to build a world-first and world-class spaceport,” said Branson. “Today, I could not be more excited to announce that in return, we are now ready to bring New Mexico a world-first, world-class spaceline. Virgin Galactic is coming home to New Mexico, where together we will open space to change the world for good.”
Virgin Galactic will reposition its space system consisting of carrier aircraft VMS Eve and spaceship VSS Unity from Mojave California to Spaceport America over the summer months once cabin interior and other work has been completed by Virgin Galactic’s sister manufacturing organization, The Spaceship Company. It will complete its final test flights from New Mexico before commencing a full commercial service for passengers and research payload. TSC will remain based in Mojave where it will continue building Virgin Galactic’s planned fleet of SpaceShipTwo and (carrier aircraft) WhiteKnightTwo vehicles.
The World is Watching
The company’s founder Sir Richard Branson has recently made public remarks on his 2019 planned space flight that will make him among the world’s few astronauts. Branson’s flight from Spaceport America will mark the beginning of an era for mankind: the time for commercial space tourism.
The City of Las Cruces plans to celebrate Sir Richard Branson’s first flight with a live stream of the flight and events downtown at the Plaza de Las Cruces.
Future Astronaut Program
Currently there are fewer than 600 humans who have traveled to space in history, Virgin Galactic plans to change that. Over 600 people have purchased tickets to experience spaceflight and become astronauts. Future Astronauts will train and prepare for their voyage over three days at Spaceport America, and then in the early morning they will join the list of humans who have seen the curvature of Earth from space.
At $250,000 a ticket, a ride to space is hard to book for the average tourist, but luckily for all those visiting Las Cruces, Spaceport Tours are available for purchase in advance departing from our city.
New Mexico Spaceport Authority, 166 N Roadrunner Pkwy Ste 1C, Las Cruces, NM 88011.
Co Rd A021, Truth or Consequences, NM 87901