August 08, 2005

Kevin Hall
(804) 225-4260

Chuck Wilkins
Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation
(703) 396-6304
Christie Collins
(804) 371-4074
-Company to invest $5 million and create 100 new jobs to pursue flight in atmosphere of Mars-

RICHMOND - Governor Mark R. Warner today announced that Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation will invest $5 million to expand its current facility at the Manassas Regional Airport and create approximately100 new jobs. The engineering and research and development facility will primarily support the development of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) designed to fly in the Martian atmosphere. If successful, the program would represent the first aircraft to fly in the atmosphere of another planet.

“The expansion of such a state-of-the art engineering company is great news for the City of Manassas and the Commonwealth,” said Governor Warner. “The Manassas Regional Airport is key in that it provides the perfect location for testing products. We are moving into an era of space exploration and surveillance where Aurora Flight Sciences is on the leading edge, and we look forward to the company’s continued growth. Their mission is fascinating.”

Members of Aurora Flight Sciences’ staff have been involved in the development of Mars airplanes and other advanced UAVs for more than 20 years. As the company breaks ground on the new facility, it is preparing for an anticipated NASA competition to select a mission concept for a 2011 Mars mission.

“As we break ground in Northern Virginia today, I cannot help but think of the role Aurora will play in paving the way for astronauts who, a few decades from now, will sink shovels into the Martian soil,” said Aurora Flight Sciences President Dr. John S. Langford. “The road to Mars begins in Virginia.”

Headquartered in Manassas since 1991, Aurora Flight Sciences develops innovative Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for the scientific, defense and homeland security communities. The company employs over 300 at locations in Virginia, West Virginia and Mississippi.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Manassas and Manassas Regional Airport to secure the project for Virginia. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide training assistance through its Workforce Services Program.

“I am especially pleased to be able to join Governor Warner in announcing Aurora’s expansion,” said Mayor Douglas Waldron. “Their $5 million investment and 100 new jobs are welcome news for the City of Manassas. Aurora is a valuable corporate neighbor and we look forward to playing a role in their continued growth.”


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