Mesa will be home to the final assembly manufacturing facility for Virgin Galactic's next-generation spaceships.
The global aerospace company announced Thursday that it signed a long-term lease near the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Virgin Galactic (NYSE: SPCE) said the facility at 5559 S. Sossaman Road will be able to produce six spaceships a year and bring on "well into the hundreds" of engineering and manufacturing employees in the process.
An exact number of employees the facility will employ and the timelines for hiring weren't immediately available.
Two buildings — at 35,896 square feet and 115,200 square feet — will make up the new campus in Mesa, according to the company. Virgin's new digs will have a 160-foot-wide door for the spacecraft to move in and out of the facility.
Virgin will manufacture its Delta-class spaceships at the Mesa facility, which have a target to reach space in 2025 by way revenue-generating payload flights and private astronaut flights in 2026.
“Our spaceship final assembly factory is key to accelerating the production of our Delta fleet, enabling a rapid increase in flight capacity that will drive our revenue growth.” said Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier in a statement. “We’re thrilled to expand into the greater Phoenix area which is home to outstanding aerospace talent – and we look forward to growing our team and fleet at our new facility.”
The facility is under construction and is expected to be fully operational by late 2023, the company said.
Swami Iyer, Virgin Galactic’s president of aerospace systems, said Mesa was a good strategic fit as the company has operations in Southern California and the Spaceport America is in southern New Mexico.
“Arizona is a growing innovation hub, geographically situated between our existing operations in Southern California and New Mexico," Iyer said in a statement. "This will allow us to accelerate progress from conceptual design to production to final assembly at scale as we capitalize on the many advantages Mesa and the greater Phoenix area offer.”