LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Virgin Galactic announced Thursday it has leased a 150,000-square-foot facility in Long Beach to house the design and manufacturing work for its satellite-launch vehicle known as LauncherOne.

The company will host an open house and job fair on March 7 at the state-of-the-art LEED-certified facility, just across the street from the Long Beach Airport.

“The technical progress our team has made designing and testing LauncherOne has enabled a move into a dedicated facility to produce the rocket at quantity,” Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said. “With New Mexico’s magnificent Spaceport America for our commercial spaceflight operations, our Mojave facilities for WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShip Two production, and now our new facility in Long Beach for LauncherOne, we are building capability to serve our expanding customer community.”

The company is expected to hire about 100 people initially, with more hires as the operation advances, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said.

“California and Los Angeles County have always been home to the true pioneers of the aerospace business, and we can all celebrate the fact that Long Beach attracted a tenant like Virgin Galactic, a world-renowned leader of the commercial space industry,” Garcia said. “The new facility is next to the factory where Boeing has built the C-17 for nearly 75 years.”

LauncherOne is being designed to launch smaller commercial or government satellites that weigh 500 pounds or less. It will be launched from the company’s WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft, according to Virgin Galactic.

More information about Virgin Galactic’s job fair will be posted soon at http://www.virgingalactic.com.

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