Virgin Galactic to Blast Off in 2025 with New Aurora Mothership

On July 6, 2022, Virgin Galactic announced a new agreement with Aurora Flight Sciences to build two new Motherships, each capable of flying up to 200 launches each year. The motherships will carry Virgin Galactic’s spaceship to an altitude of about 50,000 feet in a “mated climb” before it is released. The spacecraft, crew, and cargo experience weightlessness and then glide to a landing. When Virgin Galactic Founder Richard Branson became the first billionaire in space in July 2021, he and the crew spent about five minutes floating around. Virgin Galactic decided to outsource vehicle manufacturing because the deal with the Boeing subsidiary should improve time-to-market, minimize supply chain problems, and cut costs. Boeing announced plans to acquire Aurora in late 2017 because of its work in futuristic aircraft. Perhaps most importantly, the partnership will allow Virgin to tap into an existing highly-skilled labor pool. By leaning on Aurora for manufacturing, it also frees up Virgin’s in-house team to focus on design, engineering, and final assembly. Virgin and Aurora have spent the past few months developing design specifications and ironing out workforce and resource requirements for what should be a long-term project. The first mothership is scheduled to enter service in 2025.

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