The Spaceship Company Qualifies 3 Structural Subcontractors

Sir Richard Branson and designer Burt Rutan with the WhiteKnightTwo (Credits: Virgin Galactic).

The Spaceship Company (TSC) announced Monday that it had qualified three aerospace composite part suppliers to provide structural components for the WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo suborbital space tourism vehicles. Applied Aerospace Structures Corp (AASC), GFMI Aerospace & Defence, and Triumph Aerospace Systems all met or exceeded the conditions outlined in TSC’s qualification document TSDP-740.

“On behalf of everyone here at The Spaceship Company, I personally welcome AASC, GFMI Aerospace and Defense, and Triumph Aerospace systems toTSC and look forward to working together to bring access to space within everyone’s reach,” said Bob Marks,TSC’s Director of Supply Chain.  Enrico Palermo,TSC’s Vice President of Operations, added that “our goal is to produce the highest quality and safest commercial spaceflight systems and these well-qualified suppliers will help us achieve that goal.”

The designation, defined by TSC, recognizes the suppliers’ “commitment to fabrication excellence and quality through a facilities survey [and] examination of each company’s quality management system.” The purpose of such a qualification is to create a pool of subcontractors capable of producing flight-worthy structural components, while maintaining a certain level of quality, consistency, and ultimately safety of the vehicles produced.

The Spaceship Company, headquartered at the Mojave Air andSpacePort, is a joint venture between Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites. The company aims to produce a fleet of commercial suborbital spacecraft (such as the SpaceShipTwo) and carrier aircraft (such as the WhiteKnightTwo). In order to produce such a fleet, TSC will have to rely on external contractors for many components, which had driven them to develop the qualification standard that the three companies have now completed.