EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Virgin Galactic is moving to New Mexico’s Spaceport America as it prepares to launch paying customers into space.
The move was announced during a press conference at the New Mexico State Capitol Building in Santa Fe with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson.
Officials said that Galactic’s development and testing program “had advanced sufficiently to move the spaceline staff and space vehicles” from Mojave, Calif. to New Mexico. The move will bring more than 100 staff members and begin immediately.
“Virgin Galactic’s announcement Friday is an incredibly exciting development for both our state’s economic future and the future of aerospace in general,” Grisham said in a news release. “With these workers here and with these plans firmly in place, I’m certain New Mexico will serve as the launchpad for the rapid industry growth we’ve been expecting for so many years. Today marks the beginning of the next chapter of aerospace in New Mexico.”
The announcement is a step towards commercial spaceflight services, Virgin Galactic said.
“Our Virgin Galactic adventure has been intertwined with New Mexico and Spaceport America right from the start and our stories have unfolded together,” Branson said. “New Mexico delivered on its promise to build a world-first and world-class spaceport. 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.”