Courtesy virgingalactic.com on 11/12/12

Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, today dropped into his Mojave, Calif.-based Virgin Galactic space company as part of a visit to the Los Angeles area. During his visit, Sir Richard, accompanied by his daughter, Holly, toured the extensive facilities and met informally with the Mojave-based workforce now numbering more than 175 Virgin Galactic employees. Sir Richard announced to staff that Virgin Galactic’s Mojave-based sister organization, The Spaceship Company, which will manufacture and assemble a fleet of commercial space vehicles, is to be renamed and brought under the Virgin Galactic brand.

Sir Richard’s visit to the Mojave Air and Space Port included a meeting with the team from Mojave-based Scaled Composites (Scaled). Scaled developed Virgin Galactic’s commercial vehicles, WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) and SpaceShipTwo (SS2), both of which are in the latter stages of their test flight program. Sir Richard congratulated the hi-tech teams from Virgin Galactic and Scaled on their achievements in producing and testing WK2 and SS2, bringing his vision of affordable manned access to space to reality. He then met with Virgin Galactic engineering and design staff and enjoyed a preview of the yet-to-be-revealed spaceship interior. After visiting the vehicle test sites, he joined the whole team at the Final Assembly, Integration and Test Hangar (FAITH) for a tour and updates on operations, assembly and propulsion. The events concluded with a celebration and one-on-one time with employees.