Open for Business (and Hiring)
The Spaceship Company has FAITH in new Mojave facility
WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo parked in front The SpaceShip Company’s new hangar facility that was dedicated on September 19 at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California. Pictured inside behind the employees: A mock-up of Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne. Photo by Mark Greenberg/Virgin Galactic. Larger view
George Whiteside, Virgin Galactic CEO, speaks at the dedication ceremony September 19. Photo by Jeff Gentz
September 20, 2011 – A new $8 million building dubbed the Final Assembly, Integration, and Test Hangar (FAITH) was dedicated on Monday, September 19, signaling another significant milestone in Virgin Galactic’s vision of commercial space travel. It’s the culmination of a joint venture announced by VG and Scaled Composites at AirVenture 2005 called The Spaceship Company (TSC), and will primarily support the final production of VG WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft and SpaceShipTwo sub-orbital spaceships at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.
“Today marks another important step along the road to opening space for everyone,” said Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson. “We’re extremely proud of the new FAITH building, which is the world’s first facility dedicated to producing private, commercial manned space vehicles. From this hangar, the talented team at The Spaceship Company will be at the forefront of making space access safe, reliable, and affordable.”
Located on taxiway B, FAITH is a 68,000-square-foot, LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) facility specifically sized to support fabrication of SS2 and WK2 with room to produce at least two of each ship at the same time. While the primary function of the new facility is prepping vehicles for customer delivery, it will also be a return-to-base vehicle maintenance facility as TSC’s operating headquarters.
“Not only are we welcoming a new neighbor at the Mojave Air and Space Port today, we’re ushering in another phase in the development of commercial space travel,” said Doug Shane, Scaled Composites president. “It’s exciting to see the vision becoming a reality.”
TSC will use another facility in Mojave – an upgraded, 48,000-square-foot existing building – for fabrication and vehicle sub-assembly. TSC has secured options to expand the size of the FAITH facility and build an adjacent flight test hangar as the customer base grows.
FAITH will add new jobs to the commercial space industry at spaceports in Mojave and New Mexico, according to the company. With current employment at 80 people, TSC says it is looking to double its workforce within the next year, with numerous high-tech and engineering positions available in the next 90 days. For more information, visit the company’s new website, also launched this week.