Virgin Galactic building new spaceship assembly plant near Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport

Spaceships designed to take private citizens out of this world will soon be manufactured in the Phoenix area, as Virgin Galactic has chosen Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport as the hub for its new rocketship assembly plant.

Construction is already underway for the plant, which will build Virgin Galactic's Mothership spacecraft. By the end of 2023, a total of three hangars will be built and running, and the Arizona-built spaceships will be taking off into outer space in 2025.

"They’ll have the Mothership in the hangar behind that will take the spaceship to New Mexico, where the launch site is," said Gateway Executive Airpark Manager of Development, Steve McKendry.

The plant is expected to produce six new spacecrafts a year. Virgin Galactic chose the location over an air force base in California.

"The weather in Arizona is great for flying," said McKendry. "The runways here are 10,000 feet long, which is what it takes to get one of these aircraft off the ground."

The new manufacturing facility will be neighbors with several other aviation centers that recently moved in.

"Gulfstream just moved out here from Los Angeles," said McKendry. "We’ve got Cessna. Embraer."

The new plant is expected to bring around 400 highly-skilled aerospace engineering and manufacturing jobs to the East Valley area, and it will also brings many people’s dreams of one day boarding a spaceship closer to home and reality.

For Virgin Galactic, they have a goal of operating 400 flights a year, beginning in 2025, from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

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