Aerial view of New Mexico’s Spaceport America.
Credit: Spaceport America

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced today that the space company plans to relocate more than 100 employees to New Mexico’s Spaceport America as it begins to ramp up operations for commercial flights.

Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson announced that Virgin Galactic’s development and testing program had advanced sufficiently to move the spaceline staff and space vehicles to their commercial operations headquarters at Spaceport America, New Mexico.

The move, which involves more than 100 staff, will commence imm

Credit: Spaceport America

ediately and continue through the summer.

$218 million investment

Spaceport America represents a $218 million investment by the state of New Mexico. The 18,000-acre FAA-licensed facility sits adjacent to the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range and has three vertical launch complexes and a 12,000-foot runway.

Just 45 miles north of Las Cruces, Spaceport America has the most restricted airspace in the Unites States except for the sky over the White House.

To date, Spaceport America has hosted 204 vertical launches as well as student rocket and science competitions.

Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo launch system flies above New Mexico’s Spaceport America – at that time, still under construction.
Credit: Virgin Galactic/Mark Greenberg

Coming home

“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.”

Branson made the announcement in a ceremony at the New Mexico state capitol in Santa Fe. He said more than 100 employees will be moving to New Mexico to support the current staff bringing employment for Virgin Galactic at Spaceport America to approximately 150.

More jobs will follow as operations progress into commercial service in the coming year, Branson said.

Video: https://www.facebook.com/NewMexicoEconomicDevelopment/videos/420010298822223/

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