The west entrance of Spaceport America. Photo: Steve Snowden/Getty Images

Virgin Galactic announced on Friday that it will finally move operations from its Mojave facilities to the New Mexico launch site Spaceport America, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: This launch site is currently the world's only commercial spaceport. Virgin plans to use the spaceport to fulfill one of its ultimate visions: carrying tourists to space for tickets that reportedly cost up to $250,000 a piece. Virgin plans to execute the move this summer now that it has completed 2 successful flights through the upper atmosphere — one of which included the first passenger carried to space aboard a commercial spacecraft.

The backdrop: Spaceport America, which cost New Mexico taxpayers $220 million, stood vacant for years as Virgin troubleshot issues with test flights. Virgin hoped to have paying passengers take space tours by 2007, but 3 technicians were killed that year by an explosion while testing a propellant system. In 2014, the company's SpaceShipTwo broke apart during a test flight, killing the co-pilot.

  • The rest of Virgin's vision: space hotels and a network of spaceports allowing supersonic travel anywhere on earth within a few hours.

Buzz: 700 people have already signed up to grab up to $250,000 tickets to be flown 50 miles from the New Mexico spaceport to the edge of space. Still, Virgin has not yet set a deadline for the first commercial flight, per the AP.

Go deeper: Inside the new global race to space

Go deeper

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and his wife, Pamela, both tested positive for coronavirus, his office announced on Friday.

The state of play: The Northams were tested after one of their staff "who works closely within the couple's living quarters" tested positive. The governor is asymptomatic, while his wife is "experiencing mild symptoms." They plan to isolate at home for 10 days.

Ina Fried, author of Login
33 mins ago - Technology

Amazon wants to flood America with Alexa cameras and microphones

Photo: Amazon

In a Thursday event unveiling a slew of new home devices ahead of the holidays, Amazon made clearer than ever its determination to flood America with cameras, microphones and the voice of Alexa, its AI assistant.

The big picture: Updating popular products and expanding its range to car alarms and in-home drones, Amazon extended its lead in smart home devices and moved into new areas including cloud gaming and car security. The new offerings will also fuel criticism that the tech giant is helping equip a society built around surveillance.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Oil's turbulent long-term future

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The oil sector is facing risks from all sides.

Why it matters: Risk in the industry is nothing new. But these are especially turbulent and uncertain times. The industry's market clout has waned, the future of demand is kind of a mystery, and future U.S. policy is too, just to name three.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!