Business | Aviation

Virgin Galactic in talks with Mubadala

Company to launch first commercial space flight this year with founder Richard Branson on board

  • By Alexander Cornwell, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 17:37 April 7, 2014
  • Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Mubadala Development Company could team up with Richard Branson’s commercial space flight company, Virgin Galactic, according to George T. Whitesides, CEO and president of Virgin Galactic.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Global Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi, Whitesides confirmed to the media on Monday that the American space flight company has held discussions with Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala.

Asked if Mubadala could supply parts or build any part of Virgin Galactic’s commercial spacecraft fleet, Whitesides said, “We’ve had good conversations with Mubadala and other stakeholders in the UAE and we will see where those conversations go.”

However, he added that he “won’t get into the details of those discussions.”

Mubadala has an active aerospace division called Mubadala Aerospace, which manufactures and supplies parts to Airbus and Boeing for their commercial widebody aircraft.

Virgin Galactic is set to launch its first commercial space flight later this year with Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson, on board.

The flight will launch from Spaceport America, New Mexico in the United States.

Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments is a stakeholder in Virgin Galactic.

Asked when Abu Dhabi could have its own spaceport, Whitesides said that Virgin Galactic is focused on starting commercial operations at its first spaceport, Spaceport America.

“We remain excited about the concept of doing operations form Abu Dhabi [but] that ultimately is dependent on approval by regulators in the US and the emirates as well as our stakeholders,” he said.

Whitesides declined to comment as to whether there have been any discussions for Aabar Investments to lift their stake in the company.

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