Virgin Galactic to make satellite launcher in Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Virgin Galactic is making a new home in Long Beach, the company announced Thursday.

Founded by Sir Richard Branson, the company intends to use the 150,000-square-foot building to put together its satellite launch vehicle LauncherOne.

"It's very exciting to have Virgin Galactic come to Long Beach," Long Beach City Councilwoman Stacy Mungo said. "It really shows that they believe in the economic vitality that we have in this community."

In a video from the company, LauncherOne takes satellites into orbit from the White Knight Two carrier aircraft.

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LauncherOne is set to create some competition in the satellite launching industry, currently dominated by Hawthorne-based Space X. It will also bring aerospace jobs back to Long Beach.

"Long Beach has a long history in aviation, so taking it into space is just the next level for us," Mungo said.

Virgin Galactic's new building is across the street from Boeing's C-17 production facility, which will close this summer and leave hundreds without jobs.

The city hopes some will find a place with Virgin Galactic. The company expects to hire 100 people at first and more as the facility grows. It will hold a job fair and open house on March 7.

"We are the downtown between San Francisco and San Diego. We have great, smart minds and innovative people. We'll partner with our big companies," Mungo said.

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