Virgin Galactic, Spaceship Company to Hold Industry Day at Spaceport America

SpaceShipTwo. (Photo: Mark Greenberg)

VG PR — SPACEPORT AMERICA, N.M. — Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, LLC, the world’s first commercial spaceline, and sister aerospace production company, The Spaceship Company (TSC), in cooperation with the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, today announced that they will host their first-ever “Industry Day” on Oct. 18., 2011 at Spaceport America near Las Cruces, N.M.

The inaugural event marks a major milestone in the advent of commercial space travel. While the event is designed to educate potential suppliers on what sorts of goods and services will be needed by both companies, the underlying message is that widespread, commercial space travel will soon be a reality.

Suppliers can learn more during the full-day event, which will feature a chance to see the WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo up close in their new home, as well as presentations by Virgin Galactic President and CEO George Whitesides, New Mexico Department of Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Jon Barela and New Mexico Spaceport Authority Executive Director Christine Anderson.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for companies ranging from local New Mexico firms to national corporations to understand our unique needs for goods and services, including our requirements in building and servicing multiple commercial spaceships as the market further develops,” said Virgin Galactic’s President and CEO George Whitesides. “Our intention is to establish these relationships and emphasize our desire to hire locally as much as possible.”

The “Industry Day” takes place from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (MDT) and is by invitation only. Interested suppliers should complete a registration form to express their desire in attending the event and becoming a Virgin Galactic and/or TSC supplier. A selection process will follow to determine the final guest list. Invitations will be emailed.

“We appreciate the effort of Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company in hosting the Industry Day and welcome potential space industry suppliers to New Mexico,” said New Mexico Department of Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Jon Barela. “The state is very excited for this milestone event and for the upcoming reality of not only seeing the first commercial passenger flights take place but also for the jobs and unique industry this will create in New Mexico.”

In 2005, Virgin Galactic and the state of New Mexico signed an agreement to build a $209 million spaceport near Las Cruces. Operated by the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, Spaceport America is undergoing construction with the Terminal Hangar Facility (THF) nearing completion. Virgin Galactic will operate its commercial space flights from this facility.

About Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic is on track to be the world’s first commercial spaceline. The first new spaceship (SpaceshipTwo, VSS Enterprise) and carrier aircraft (WhiteKnightTwo, VMS Eve) have both been developed for Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic by Mojave-based Scaled Composites. Founded by Burt Rutan, Scaled developed SpaceShipOne, which in 2004 claimed the $10m Ansari X Prize as the world’s first privately developed manned spacecraft. Virgin Galactic’s new vehicles share much of the same basic design, but are being built to carry six customers on sub-orbital space flights, allowing an out-of-the-seat, zero-gravity experience and offering astounding views of the planet from the black sky of space. The VSS Enterprise and VMS Eve test flight program is well under way, leading to Virgin Galactic commercial operations, which will be based at Spaceport America in New Mexico.

About The Spaceship Company

TSC, also known as The Spaceship Company, is a new aerospace production company, founded by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites, which will be building the world’s first fleet of commercial spaceships (SpaceShipTwos) and carrier aircraft (WhiteKnightTwos) intended to make space travel a reality.

About Spaceport America

Spaceport America has been providing commercial launch services since 2006. Phase One of the construction for the spaceport is expected to be complete in late 2011. Phase Two of the construction and pre-operations activities has recently been initiated, including the development of a world-class Visitors Experience for students, tourists and space launch customers.

The State of New Mexico entered into a 20-year lease agreement with Virgin Galactic, Spaceport America’s anchor tenant. Virgin Galactic is currently developing the world’s first commercial passenger-carrying space vehicle fleet, including the WhiteKnightTwo mother ship and SpaceShipTwo launch vehicle.