California desert spaceship factory completed

Sep 20, 2011

Space tourism is closer to reality.

The $8 million production plant where the world's first fleet of passenger-ready spaceships will be built has been completed and production is expected to begin at the end of the month.

The Spaceship Co. facility is a joint venture of Mojave-based Scaled Composites and British billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic chief executive George Whitesides tells the Los Angeles Times ( http://lat.ms/pZqOWE ) that completion of the production facility moves Galactic closer to sending paying passengers into space. A ticket costs $200,000.

Hundreds of public officials and reporters were invited Monday to tour the giant hangar where the White Knight and SpaceShipTwo craft will be built.

Up to 200 people will work at the assembly plant.

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