SPACE tourism is closer to reality after the completion of an $US8 million ($7.8 million) Mojave Desert production plant where the world’s first fleet of passenger-ready spaceships will be built.
Hundreds of public officials and reporters were invited to tour the giant hangar where the White Knight and SpaceShipTwo craft will be built.
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Up to 200 people will work at the assembly plant and it will be used primarily for the final assembly, integration and testing before the aircraft are delivered to customers.
The Spaceship Co facility is a joint venture of Mojave-based Scaled Composites and British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.
“Today marks another important step along the road to opening space for everyone,” Mr Branson said.
“From this hangar, the talented team at The Spaceship Co will be at the forefront of making space access safe, reliable and affordable.”
Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides told the Los Angeles Times that completion of the production facility moves Galactic closer to sending paying passengers into space.