Virgin Galactic Begins Testing at Delta Spaceship Ground Testing Facility

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.

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.

“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. 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,”

said Mike Moses, Spaceline president.

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