With an $800 million infusion thanks to a merger with a public investment vehicle, Virgin Galactic expects to rapidly build up commercial operations and be profitable as soon as 2021.
Virgin Galactic announced July 9 it had reached an agreement to merge with a public investment vehicle, raising several hundred million dollars of capital and allowing the company to become publicly traded.
Virgin Galactic plans to move its spaceship, carrier aircraft and flight operations personnel this summer from Mojave, California, to New Mexico’s Spaceport America, company executives announced May 10.
Virgin Galactic’s chief pilot believes the company will be able to go through the remainder of its SpaceShipTwo test program fairly quickly once test flights of the suborbital spaceplane resume.
In addition to more than 200 exhibitors spread over two exhibit halls, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Lockheed Martin and Virgin Galactic have brought along full-scale space hardware this year for outdoor display during the show.
As Blue Origin prepares to start flying people on its New Shepard suborbital vehicle, the company’s founder says the altitude the vehicle can reach will put it at an advantage over Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo.
Virgin Galactic scrubbed the Feb. 20 flight test for SpaceShipTwo, the air-launched suborbital spaceplane, due to high winds in Mojave, California. The flight test is now scheduled for Friday, Feb. 22.
The two pilots who flew SpaceShipTwo to the edge of space in December received commercial astronaut wings last week, joining an elite group that won’t necessarily become much larger even with the anticipated growth of commercial spaceflight.
Suborbital spaceflight company Virgin Galactic laid off about 40 people earlier this month as part of a realignment of “skill sets” in the company’s workforce as it prepares to shift into commercial operations later this year.
The founder of Virgin Galactic says he now expects to fly on the company’s SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle around the middle of this year after a series of test flights starting in the next several weeks.
While some question whether Virgin Galactic’s latest SpaceShipTwo test flight actually went into space, a number of government officials and industry organizations have few doubts that it did.
With a first flight to the edge of space under the company’s belt, Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson believes commercial flights of SpaceShipTwo could begin some time next year.