Virgin Galactic begins its big move to New Mexico

Spaceport America
Spaceport America is becoming the true base of operations for Virgin Galactic. (Virgin Galactic Photo)

After two successful crewed test flights to a 50-mile-high space milestone, Virgin Galactic says it’s shifting its operations from California to New Mexico’s Spaceport America — lock, stock and spaceship.

Virgin Galactic’s billionaire founder, Richard Branson, made the announcement in Santa Fe today, in the company of New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and other state dignitaries. The company said the transfer is beginning immediately and will continue over the summer, to minimize the disruption for the school-age children of employees.

More than 100 staff members are affected by the move, Virgin Galactic said in a news release.

The shift follows through on a promise that Virgin Galactic made more than a decade ago, in exchange for New Mexico’s pledge to put state funds toward a project that ended up costing more than $200 million.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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