Courtesy of the Las Cruces Sun-News, by Brook Stockberger
LAS CRUCES – Virgin Galactic has landed in Las Cruces. Well, the company already has been working in town for a couple of years and opened an office here in February, but it held an open house event on Thursday for its Las Cruces facility, located in the building known as the Green Offices at 166 S. Roadrunner Parkway, the building with a curved bluish-green glass exterior.
“We opened an office here to have a presence,” said Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides. “The spaceport isn’t ready yet (so operations are based in Las Cruces).”
Whitesides said that the company hopes to start space flights in the second half of next year. He said that even when the company is employing 50 to 100 people at Spaceport America, it’ll probably still maintain a Las Cruces office.
Virgin Galactic is part of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and plans to launch suborbital spaceflights from the $200-million Spaceport America north of Las Cruces. The Las Cruces office gives the company a place to meet with businesses, contractors and other local interests.
“There will always be a satellite office here to conduct sales and marketing (operations),” said Carolyn Wincer, head of travel and tourism. “We plan to hold a few of these things (open houses) for different community groups.”
Currently, five staff members work out of the office.
Brook Stockberger can be reached at (575) 541-5457