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Virgin Galactic Begins Operations at Delta Spaceship Ground Testing Facility

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Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) has opened a new system integration facility in Southern California for its Delta Class spaceships, starting ground tests of initial subsystems. The facility houses an 'Iron Bird' test platform to expedite development and enhance safety. The company aims to move from prototype to production model, reducing development time. The Delta fleet is set to launch commercially in 2026, with the final assembly in Phoenix, Arizona.

Positive
  • Opening a new system integration facility for Delta Class spaceships to enhance testing and development.

  • Testing and verifying subsystems using an 'Iron Bird' test rig to ensure efficient production and safe operations.

  • Strategic investment to validate functionality of components early in the development process, streamlining manufacturing and validation.

  • Moving from a prototype to a production model to shave years off the development timeline.

  • Final assembly of the Delta ships on track for commercial service launch in 2026, with increased capacity and flight frequency compared to VSS Unity.

Negative
  • None.

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.--(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.

For media inquiries:

Aleanna Crane – Vice President, Communications

news@virgingalactic.com

575.800.4422

Jeff Michael – Communications

news@virgingalactic.com

661.754.4300

For investor inquiries:

Eric Cerny – Vice President, Investor Relations

vg-ir@virgingalactic.com

949.774.7637

Source: Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc.

FAQ

What is the purpose of the new system integration facility opened by Virgin Galactic?

Virgin Galactic opened the facility in Southern California for its Delta Class spaceships to conduct ground tests of initial subsystems.

What testing platform is being used by Virgin Galactic at the new facility?

Virgin Galactic is using an 'Iron Bird' test rig for testing and verifying the operation of Delta subsystems.

Where will the final assembly of the Delta ships take place?

The final assembly of the Delta ships will take place at Virgin Galactic's new Delta facility in Phoenix, Arizona.

When is the commercial service launch of the Delta fleet expected?

The commercial service launch of the Delta fleet is set for 2026.

How many space missions per month are the Delta Class spaceships capable of flying?

The Delta Class spaceships are being built to be capable of flying eight space missions per month.

Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc.

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About SPCE

virgin galactic is the world’s first commercial spaceline. we are developing vehicles to fly private astronauts, research experiments, and satellites to space—democratizing access to space for the benefit of life on earth. the virgin galactic astronaut experience will include out-of-seat weightlessness and stunning views of earth from space onboard spaceshiptwo, our reusable spaceplane designed for us by aerospace pioneer scaled composites. spaceshiptwo has been designed to carry two pilots and as many as six astronauts (or more than 1,000 pounds of experiments) to space and back on commercial flights from new mexico’s spaceport america, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport. we are also developing launcherone, a dedicated launch vehicle for small satellites. launcherone is designed to carry smaller satellites (typically 200-300 kilograms)) into earth orbit for historically low prices. together with our wholly-owned manufacturing arm, the spaceship company, virgin galact