Another false start for Virgin Galactic

Spaceport America’s lead tenant Virgin Galactic had finally begun launching it’s manned space tourism flights this year after the facility had been open for more than a decade. And, while the stock price had been destroyed, it seemed like things were finally moving in the right direction for both the company and the taxpayer-funded facility, right?


According to SpaceNews, The company just announced that (after a series of successful flights in recent months) Virgin Galactic will reduce the frequency of flights of its current suborbital vehicle and stop them entirely by mid-2024 as it concentrates resources on the next generation of vehicles.

Virgin Galactic announced Nov. 7 it would be laying off staff and reducing other expenses to concentrate resources on the Delta class, The company also said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it would be cutting 185 jobs, or about 18% of its current workforce.

Not surprisingly, what limited economic benefits New Mexico had been receiving from these launches will soon evaporate as “company staff who work on the vehicles at Spaceport America in New Mexico will go to a new factory near Phoenix the company expects to complete in the second quarter of 2024 to help with the assembly of the first Delta-class vehicles.” In other words, Virgin Galactic workers are moving out of state.

Virgin Galactic reported $1.7 million in revenue in the third quarter from its spaceflight as well as “membership fees” from customers, and projects $3 million in revenue in the fourth quarter. The company had a net loss of $105 million in the third quarter.

SpaceShipTwo on Unity 25 flight