WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) – WK2 is the carrier aircraft specifically designed for
air launch of SS2. It is the largest 100-percent carbon composite carrier craft
ever built and made its first flight in December 2008.
LauncherOne (L1) – L1 is an expendable launch vehicle designed to launch
small satellites into orbit. It is a two-stage vehicle powered by liquid rocket
engines and will be air-launched from Virgin Galactic’s own Boeing 747-400
aircraft. For a price below US $10 million, LauncherOne will now be able to
launch 200 kg into the standard Sun-Synchronous Orbit most commonly
desired by small satellite missions, a marked increase from the system’s
originally projected performance to that orbit. Customers will also be able
purchase even further increases in performance to the same orbit, as well as
launches that reach other altitudes or inclinations.
Spaceflight: The WhiteKnightTwo test flight program is complete. The first SpaceShipTwo
vehicle was at an advanced stage of testing when it was lost during its fourth
powered test flight in October 2014. Following the February 2016 unveil, the second
SpaceShipTwo vehicle will start its ground and flight test program. Virgin Galactic
will officially launch operations from Spaceport America in New Mexico with paying
passengers once it believes it is safe to do so and has received all regulatory
LauncherOne is currently under development. Commercial launches will take place
on a schedule dictated by technical progress and by customer requirements, and
test flights could begin as early as 2017.
Operations: Virgin Galactic’s Mojave-based The Spaceship Company (TSC) now has the third and
fourth spaceships in very early stages of production as part of the fleet of vehicles
on order for Virgin Galactic.
Spaceport America (SA) – the state of New Mexico and the counties of Sierra and
Doña Ana funded the world’s first purpose-built spaceport complete with a 12,000-
foot runway. Located some 47 miles north of Las Cruces, N.M., the $212 million
Spaceport America will serve as Virgin Galactic’s base of operations. The “Virgin
Galactic Gateway to Space” terminal and hangar facility was designed by Foster +
Partners, URS Corporation, and New Mexico firm SMPC Architects, and it was
dedicated in October 2011.
Workforce: Approximately 650 dedicated staff.
Leadership: George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company.
Steve Isakowitz, President of Virgin Galactic.
Doug Shane, President of The Spaceship Company.
Stephen Attenborough, Commercial Director for Virgin Galactic.
Jonathan Firth, Executive Vice President, Spaceport & Program Development for
Mike Moses, Senior Vice President of Operations for Virgin Galactic.
Todd Ericson, Vice President of Safety and Test for Virgin Galactic
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UK inquiries: VirginGalactic@fticonsulting.com
NON UK inquiries: VirginGalacticPress@VirginGalactic.com