Virgin Galactic Now Has More Land Rovers Than Spaceships

First Discovery Sport rolls off the assembly line. (Cedit: Land Rover)
First Discovery Sport rolls off the assembly line. (Cedit: Land Rover)

Virgin Galactic has received the first production vehicle of Land Rover’s Discovery Sport vehicle after it rolled off the assembly line in Halewood, England last week. The vehicle was sent to Virgin Galactic headquarters in London, Land Rover announced.

This brings to at least six the number of Land Rover vehicles Virgin Galactic has received under a partnership and promotional deal between the two companies that was announced earlier this year. Five Land Rovers have been seen at Virgin Galactic’s production and test center in Mojave, Calif.

Virgin Galactic also will use Land Rovers at Spaceport America in New Mexico, where the company will fly tourists on suborbital flights aboard SpaceShipTwo.

In conjunction with the rollout of the premium compact SUV, Land Rover also has launched the Galactic Discovery competition in which one person will win a flight for himself and three friends aboard SpaceShipTwo.

The selection of Land Rover as a partner was a curious choice for a company founded by Richard Branson, who created the Carbon War Room as a way to fight climate change. The company’s vehicles are not exactly the most fuel efficient in the world.

Land Rover’s press release announcing the delivery is below.

HALEWOOD, England — The first production Discovery Sport has rolled off Land Rover’s production line in Halewood, UK. The car will now make its way to Virgin Galactic’s headquarters, to be used by the team as they continue to prepare for the launch of the world’s first commercial spaceline.

The world’s most versatile and capable premium compact SUV, the Discovery Sport, is the first of the new Discovery family. It features 5+2 seating in a footprint no larger than existing 5-seat premium SUVs, as well as Land Rover’s class-leading capability. The vehicle will make its U.S. debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The launch marks another significant milestone in the product offensive for Jaguar Land Rover which will see the company deliver 50 significant product actions over the next five years.

During a ceremony at the Land Rover Halewood plant, the first ever production vehicle was received by Stephen Attenborough, Commercial Director of Virgin Galactic, with whom Land Rover partnered with earlier this year. The vehicle will be used by the pioneering spaceflight company to support its operations in the UK, and is one of a number of vehicles Land Rover is providing as part of an ongoing global partnership between the British brands.

“It fills me with pride to have seen the first new Discovery Sport coming off the line here at our world-class Halewood production facility. We are now even more excited to hand the keys over to the crew at Virgin Galactic. The new car embodies Land Rover’s spirit of Above and Beyond, so it’s fitting that it will be used by a similarly pioneering company in Virgin Galactic,” said Murray Dietsch, Director of Land Rover Programs.

The Halewood plant, which is already home to the company’s fastest selling model of all time – the Range Rover Evoque, has seen investment in the site more than double and workforce treble over the last four years with 4,750 people now employed at the site.

The impact of Discovery Sport has also been positively felt within the UK supply chain where $4.47bn in contracts have been awarded to 55 suppliers.

Land Rover revealed the new Discovery Sport through an online film shot at Spaceport America in New Mexico, USA, last month. The launch of the car was paired with the announcement of Land Rover’s Galactic Discovery competition, giving four friends the chance to win an once-in-a-lifetime trip to space with Virgin Galactic. Find out more at: http://landrover.us/space.