Virgin Galactic Moves SpaceShipTwo to Spaceport America
Virgin Galactic Holdings has relocated SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unity, to its commercial headquarters at Spaceport America’s Gateway to Space building in New Mexico. VSS Unity, attached to the carrier aircraft, VMS Eve, made the journey from Mojave, California, where the company’s manufacturing facilities are based. The move of the spaceship to Spaceport America is a step in the company’s relocation of Virgin Galactic’s to the state of New Mexico, which was first announced in May 2019.
Engineers evaluated VSS Unity during the captive carry flight for over three hours at high altitude and cold temperatures, a longer period of time than is experienced during missions to space. Virgin Galactic said these environmental evaluations of system performance are difficult to replicate at ground level, therefore captive carry missions are a vital component of VSS Unity’s flight test plan. In addition, Italian Air Force Test Pilot Nicola ‘Stick’ Pecile joined Chief Pilot Dave ‘Mac’ Mackay in the cockpit of the spaceship for the first time. Nicola is the fifth pilot to complete a flight in VSS Unity.
“When Virgin Galactic started moving to New Mexico last year, everyone felt the sheer magnitude of the task ahead, but we were encouraged and excited by the team’s confidence and strong vision for the future,” said George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic. “Today we realized the next step in that dream by bringing our beautiful spaceship to New Mexico. We still have significant work ahead, but we are grateful to all our teammates who have made this day a reality.”