Virgin Galactic has taken 100 percent ownership of its sister company, The Spaceship Company, by acquiring the 30 percent stake held by Scaled Composites since TSC’s formation under a joint venture with Virgin Galactic in mid-2005.
Financial terms have not been released.
This acquisition marks the successful completion of a long-term strategy and signifies the end of the first phase of TSC’s development. During this development phase, TSC completed the build out of manufacturing and assembly facilities in Mojave, Calif., established a specialized workforce and transitioned necessary assets from Scaled in order to begin building Virgin Galactic’s commercial fleet of WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft and SpaceShipTwo manned sub-orbital spacecraft.
The initial contract between Virgin and Scaled called for furnishing five SS2 vehicles and another WK2. These vehicles will be used for Virgin Galactic’s planned spaceline operations that will be based at Spaceport America in southern New Mexico.
The completion of the acquisition comes as Virgin Galactic and Scaled begin to plan the handover of the SS2 development program to Virgin Galactic, with Scaled remaining fully committed to the final portion of the WK2 and SS2 test flight programs prior to Virgin Galactic commencing commercial operations.
It is anticipated that rocket powered test flights of the SS2 prototype will begin within a few months at Mojave Air and Space Port. The hybrid rocket motor has been developed by Sierra Nevada Corp. based on the successful SS1 motor. Full duration test stand firings have been completed and it is reported that simulation hardware has been carried by SS2.
It is possible that part of the reason that TSC is taking over further SS2 development is that Scaled wishes to concentrate on its large new contract to build the Stratolaunch Systems Carrier aircraft. It will be the largest [by wing span] aircraft ever.