Archive for the ‘ Virgin Galactic ’ Category

Virgin Galactic Selects Its First CEO

Spaceship Two. Photo Credit: Mark Greenberg

George Whitesides has been selected as the first CEO of Virgin Galactic. Whitesides returns to the private sector after holding the position of Chief of Staff at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Prior to becoming Chief of Staff, he served on the NASA transition team for the Obama administration.

In reference to his new position, Whitesides remarked, “I am honored to be given the opportunity to lead this historic business which will open the experience of space travel to people around the world. There is much to achieve at Virgin Galactic over the coming years as the company moves from the extensive test flying program and FAA licensing process into commercial operation of frequent spaceflights from our new home at Spaceport America in New Mexico. There is a great team at Virgin Galactic and I’m greatly looking forward to growing the business and establishing operations at the Spaceport.”

Whitesides will move Virgin Galactic from the space flight testing phase to actual revenue generating low earth orbit (LEO) space tourism. Currently 335 would be space tourists have paid in full or made deposits for a seat onboard Virgin Spaceship (VSS) Enterprise. The company has generated $65 million in reservations. Commercial space flights are expected to begin in 2012.

Virgin Galactic Completes Second Test Flight

SpaceShipTwo completed its second captive test flight yesterday. The space craft was powered and pressurized from WhiteKnightTwo, the twin fuselage plan that carries SpaceShipTwo to launch altitude. The test flight was used to evaluate pressurization, avionics performance, electrical systems, approaches and post-flight cold soaked systems testing. The flight lasted 4.7 hours during which time SpaceShipTwo reached an altitude of 51,000 feet.

The first captive carry test flight took place on March 22, 2010