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by Staff Writers
Mojave, CA (SPX) Oct 08, 2012
Virgin Galactic, the world's first commercial spaceline, has announced that it has taken 100% ownership of its sister company, The Spaceship Company (TSC), by acquiring the 30% stake held by Scaled Composites (Scaled) since TSC's formation under a joint venture with Virgin Galactic.
This acquisition, details of which are not being disclosed, marks the successful completion of a long-term strategy and signifies the end of the first phase of TSC's development.
During this development phase, TSC completed the build out of manufacturing and assembly facilities in Mojave, CA, established a specialized workforce and transitioned necessary assets from Scaled in order to begin building Virgin Galactic's commercial fleet of WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) carrier aircraft and SpaceShipTwo (SS2) manned sub-orbital spacecraft. T
hese vehicles will be utilized for Virgin Galactic's planned spaceline operations which will be based at Spaceport America in southern New Mexico.
The completion of the acquisition comes as Virgin Galactic and Scaled begin to plan the handover of the SS2 development program to Virgin Galactic, with Scaled remaining fully committed to the final portion of the WK2 and SS2 test flight programs prior to Virgin Galactic commencing commercial operations.
Virgin Galactic, owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and aabar Investments PJS, is on track to be the world's first commercial spaceline. The new spaceship (SpaceShipTwo, VSS Enterprise) and carrier craft (WhiteKnightTwo, VMS Eve) have both been developed for Virgin Galactic by Mojave-based Scaled Composites.
The Spaceship Company, a new aerospace production company founded by Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites, is building the fleet of vehicles for Virgin Galactic. 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, or the equivalent scientific research payload, 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 for tourist astronauts and a unique microgravity platform for researchers.
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.
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