Virgin Galactic announced today that the company is moving its Mojave Air and Space Port operations and employees from California to New Mexico’s Spaceport America, located outside of Truth or Consequences in Sierra County.
The move happen this summer and bring dozens of jobs to New Mexico, KRQE reported today:
According to Branson, Virgin Galactic’s development and testing program have advanced sufficiently that they can now move the spaceline staff and space vehicles to Spaceport New Mexico. The move will happen this summer and involves more than 100 staff.
“We’re now finally ready to bring you a first-class spaceflight coming to New Mexico and it is coming home now,” said Sir Branson.
Virgin Galactic is trying to become the first ever commercial spaceliner offering flights for regular people to travel in space. Sir Branson says his goals for space-lift are for people to see the earth from a new perspective.
In a press release, Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson said, “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.”
“Virgin Galactic’s announcement today is an incredibly exciting development for both our state’s economic future and the future of aerospace in general,” Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a prepared statement. “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.”
New Mexico will be one of the very few places on the planet which will be hosting human spaceflight launches. We are initiating the move of our spaceship and operations team to New Mexico’s @Spaceport_NM. https://t.co/n35fpAsv2W pic.twitter.com/gDdjuk8UGl
— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) May 10, 2019
Branson said today at a press conference that he didn’t know exactly when the commercial flights will launch, but that the goal is to launch their first flight within a year. This means that the first commercial space flight in the world will likely take off from New Mexico.
While it seems many of the employees will be relocated from California to New Mexico, there are currently 18 Las Cruces jobs with Virgin Galactic posted on their website.
Another company, SpinLaunch Inc., recently broke ground on a $7 million, 10,000 square foot test facility at Spaceport America and will invest an additional $1 million in infrastructure to support it, according to a recent news report.
“The commercial space market is expected to grow to a trillion-dollar industry within the decade, and this new agreement with Spaceport America will expedite our ability to service that emerging market,” SpinLaunch founder and CEO Jonathan Yaney said.
Kane Robotics, which provides automated engineering services to aerospace manufacturing companies, recently launched in Albuquerque.