Boeing subsidiary Aurora to build two ‘motherships’ for Virgin Galactic
US aerospace and space travel company Virgin Galactic announced an agreement with Aurora Flight Sciences (Aurora), a subsidiary of Boeing, to partner in the design and development of its next generation ‘motherships’. The motherships are air launch carrier aircraft in Virgin Galactic’s space flight system.
Under the agreement, which was announced by Virgin Galactic on July 6, 2022, Aurora Flight Sciences is committed to building two new carrier planes, which will carry a spaceship to its release altitude of approximately 50,000 feet.
The so-called ‘motherships’ will be manufactured at four Aurora facilities in the US located in Columbus, Mississippi, Bridgeport, and West Virginia. However, the final assembly will take place at the Virgin Galactic facility in Mojave, California.
According to Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier, the next generation motherships will accelerate the company’s operations and will help to perform substantially more flights each year.
Virgin Galactic’s manufacturing strategy is designed “to leverage third party suppliers to improve efficiency, access innovation and technology, and tap into existing highly skilled labor pools,” the company wrote in the statement.
“Supported by the scale and strength of Boeing, Aurora is the ideal manufacturing partner for us as we build our fleet to support 400 flights per year at Spaceport America,” the CEO said.
The first new mothership is expected to enter service in 2025, while Virgin Galactic’s first Delta-class spaceship is also scheduled to launch revenue payload flights the same year.
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