Virgin Galactic unveiling mission control for space tourism

UPHAM, N.M. (AP) — Virgin Galactic plans to unveil its digs at Spaceport America, providing the first glimpse of mission control, a prep area for pilots and a lounge where paying customers will wait for their flights to space.

Company officials are gathering Thursday at the remote facility in the New Mexico desert to show off two levels of the custom-tailored hangar at the taxpayer-financed spaceport.

It’s unclear how soon commercial flights could begin. Company officials have said a small number of test flights must be completed.

Billionaire Richard Branson and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, first pitched the plan for the facility nearly 15 years ago.

Virgin Galactic’s spaceship development has taken far longer than expected and had a major setback when the company’s first experimental craft broke apart during a 2014 test flight, killing the co-pilot.

Associated Press

Associated Press

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