Virgin Galactic to build satellite-launching rocket in Long Beach

British billionaire Richard Branson show
Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson shows a model of LauncherOne to the crowd at the Farnborough International Airshow in Hampshire, England, on July 11, 2012. LauncherOne is designed to deliver small satellites into orbit.
(Adrian Dennis / AFP/Getty Images)

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is opening a facility in Long Beach to build and design the company’s new satellite-launching space vehicle.

The news was welcomed Thursday by officials in Long Beach, which has lost thousands of aerospace manufacturing jobs in recent years.

Virgin Galactic will eventually have 100 engineers and other employees working on its LauncherOne vehicle in a facility adjacent to the Long Beach Airport. The building is not far from the C-17 cargo plane factory that Boeing Co. plans to close later this year.

“They are bringing excellent jobs we need for the talented and hard-working aerospace professionals who already call Long Beach home,” Mayor Robert Garcia said of Virgin Galactic.


The company plans to hold a job fair at the 150,000-square-foot facility on East Conant Street on March 7.

Twittter: @MelodyPetersen