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The Spaceship Company

The Spaceship Company

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The Spaceship Company is a spacecraft manufacturing company formed by Burt Rutan
Burt Rutan
Elbert Leander "Burt" Rutan is an American aerospace engineer noted for his originality in designing light, strong, unusual-looking, energy-efficient aircraft...

 and Richard Branson
Richard Branson
Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is an English business magnate, best known for his Virgin Group of more than 400 companies....

 in mid-2005, jointly owned by Virgin Group
Virgin Group
Virgin Group Limited is a British branded venture capital conglomerate organisation founded by business tycoon Richard Branson. The core business areas are travel, entertainment and lifestyle. Virgin Group's date of incorporation is listed as 1989 by Companies House, who class it as a holding...

 and Scaled Composites
Scaled Composites
Scaled Composites is an aerospace company founded by Burt Rutan and currently owned by Northrop Grumman that is located at the Mojave Spaceport, Mojave, California, United States...

, which will own the technology created by Scaled for Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic is a company within Richard Branson's Virgin Group which plans to provide sub-orbital spaceflights to the paying public, along with suborbital space science missions and orbital launches of small satellites...

's Virgin SpaceShip program. This includes developments on the care-free reentry system and cantilevered-hybrid rocket motor, licensed from Paul Allen
Paul Allen
Paul Gardner Allen is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates...

 and Burt Rutan
Burt Rutan
Elbert Leander "Burt" Rutan is an American aerospace engineer noted for his originality in designing light, strong, unusual-looking, energy-efficient aircraft...

's Mojave Aerospace. The company will manufacture Virgin Galactic's spacecraft and will sell spacecraft to other buyers.
The suborbital launch system offered will include the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft
Spacecraft
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

 and the White Knight Two carrier aircraft.

The company has announced plans to build three WhiteKnightTwo aircraft and five SpaceShipTwo rocket planes.

Business approach


The launch customer for the company and SS2/WK2 will be Virgin Galactic, having placed an order for five SpaceShipTwos and two WhiteKnightTwos, with "exclusive use of the systems for the initial 18 months of commercial passenger operations."
TSC will have responsibility for the manufacture of the second WK2 aircraft and the second through fifth SS2 spacecraft for Virgin Galactic, and hopes to build many more as other customers for the vehicles emerge.

Spaceship construction


In March 2010, following the construction of the initial prototypes of WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo by Scaled Composites, The Spaceship Company is currently moving the aircraft and spacecraft into commercial production.

Production facility


In November 2010, TSC broke ground on a new 68000 square feet (6,317.4 m²) aircraft assembly plant at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California
Mojave, California
Mojave is a census-designated place in Kern County, California, United States. Mojave is located east of Bakersfield, at an elevation of 2762 feet...

. Expected completion is September 2011. The manufacturing facility is expected to employ "up to 170 people when production is in full swing."

, TSC remains on schedule to begin production of "the first sections for a second WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) carrier aircraft along with the first of multiple SpaceShipTwo (SS2) suborbital vehicles for Virgin Galactic and, ultimately, other customers" in the "Final Assembly, Integration and Test Hangar" (FAITH) in September.

In September, 2011, TSC completed construction of the new plant, on schedule, for . The production of the new spacecraft—initially three WhiteKnightTwo aircraft and five of the smaller SpaceShipTwo rocket planes—is planned to commence before the end of the month.
The FAITH hangar will be used for building the one-piece composite spars and wing for WK2, fuselage lay-up for both WK2 and SS2, and "will also be used for major maintenance and will serve as the company’s operating headquarters."

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