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Virgin Galactic Begins Operations at Delta Spaceship Ground Testing Facility

06 May 2024
  • Real-time verification to expedite and enhance Delta Class development
  • Phase 1 complete for ‘Iron Bird’ test facility
  • Delta subsystems begin ground tests

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. / May 06, 2024 / Business Wire / Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) (“Virgin Galactic” or the “Company”) today announced that it has opened a new system integration facility in Southern California for the Company’s Delta Class spaceships. This ground-based test facility, which houses a testing platform known as an “Iron Bird,” has begun tests of initial subsystems and will add components over the course of the year to increase its scope and effectiveness.

Using an Iron Bird test rig is common practice in aerospace development programs and allows Virgin Galactic to test and verify the operation of dozens of Delta subsystems – including avionics, feather actuation, pneumatics and hydraulics. This strategic investment is an important building block to ensure efficient production and safe operations of the Delta Class spaceships, allowing the team to validate the functionality of components early in the development process.

“With this approach, Virgin Galactic is moving from a prototype to a production model of developing spaceships – shaving years off the development timeline we saw with VSS Unity,” said Virgin Galactic Spaceline President Mike Moses. “The team has hit the ground running – with important testing already underway, supporting our ability to execute key Delta production milestones. The test data we’re gathering at this important stage of development will further refine testing and streamline manufacturing and validation over the course of the Delta program.”

The Iron Bird is just one ground testing method used in the development of the Delta spaceship. A static test article will stress major structural components to verify structural integrity data and determine the design and ultimate limit loads of the structure, which will both optimize the flight test program and support our overall turn time objectives.

The production timeline for Virgin Galactic’s Delta fleet remains on track for commercial service to launch in 2026. Final assembly of the Delta ships will take place at Virgin Galactic’s new Delta facility in Phoenix, Arizona. The Delta Class spaceships are being built to be capable of flying eight space missions per month with twelve times the monthly capacity of our original spaceship, VSS Unity.

About Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic is an aerospace and space travel company, pioneering human spaceflight for private individuals and researchers with its advanced air and space vehicles. Scale and profitability are driven by next generation vehicles capable of bringing humans to space at an unprecedented frequency with an industry-leading cost structure. You can find more information at https://www.virgingalactic.com/.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We intend such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). All statements contained in this press release other than statements of historical fact, including, without limitation, statements regarding testing and verifying the operation of Delta subsystems, the Company's ability to validate the functionality of Delta Class components, the development timeline, structural design and integrity of the spaceships, commencement of commercial service of our Delta fleet and timing thereof, and the monthly flight capabilities of the Delta Class spaceships are forward-looking statements. The words “believe,” “may,” “will,” “estimate,” “potential,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “strategy,” “future,” “could,” “would,” “project,” “plan,” “target,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, though not all forward-looking statements use these words or expressions. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including but not limited to, any delay in future commercial flights of our spaceflight fleet, our ability to successfully develop and test our Delta fleet and the time and costs associated with doing so, the safety of our spaceflight systems, and the other, risks and uncertainties included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023, as such factors may be updated from time to time in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), accessible on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov and the Investor Relations section of our website at www.virgingalactic.com, which could cause our actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements made in this press release. Any such forward-looking statements represent management’s estimates as of the date of this press release. While we may elect to update such forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we disclaim any obligation to do so, even if subsequent events cause our views to change.

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