Space

October 4, 2013

Virgin Galactic customer day at Mojave

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Raphael Jaffe
staff writer

A majority of Virgin Galactic’s future astronauts gather with Sir Richard Branson (center) for a group photo at Virgin Galactic FAITH hangar in Mojave, Calif., Sept. 25.

Sir Richard Branson hosted his annual Yes, youre going to space pep rally for his world ñwide customers Sept. 25 at the Mojave Air & Space Port.

More than 400 customers were there, along with about 250 others. The Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s aabar Investments PJS conducted the event, Your Flight DNA.† They were treated to a behind the hanger doors tour, met Virgin executives and pilots, saw a stunning showcase of SS2 cabin seat prototypes. and saw videos of the last two powered SS2 flights.

Just outside Virgin Galactics Final Assembly Integration and Test Hangar (FAITH) facility, the WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo were on display for the crowd. Virgin Galactics Chief Pilot David Mackay and Pilots Frederick C.J. Sturckow and Michael Masucci participated in the event and conducted a Meet the Pilots session.

Sir Richard Branson speaks to a group of future astronauts at the FAITH Hangar of Virgin Galactic in Mojave, Calif., Sept. 25.

During these yearly customer events, future astronauts are provided updates on the progress being made for the companys space flight program. Customers heard from top Virgin Galactic executives, including Sir Richard Branson, CEO George Whitesides, Commercial Director Stephen Attenborough, President Steve Isakowitz and Vice President of Operations Mike Moses. Future astronauts received up-to-date information on vehicle and rocket motor development. They also had the chance to meet and mingle with the Virgin Galactic team.

As Virgin Galactic progresses towards commercial flight, we periodically gather together with our wonderful family of Virgin Galactic future astronauts,†not only to thank them for their commitment to the program, but to also celebrate our most recent milestones and successes, said Branson. With supersonic powered test flights of SpaceShipTwo well underway, a full commercial service is fast approaching. In fact, todays event could well be the last major gathering of future astronauts before we finally start to make their dreams of space travel a reality.”†

We want to give our customers the opportunity to meet the team behind the dream ñ our amazing group of engineers, rocket motor scientists, operations experts, pilots and more, George Whitesides said. These are the individuals who work to ensure that our customers will have the safest and most memorable flight experience possible.

In the evening, there was also a private Virgin Galactic party at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. They viewed the retired Space Shuttle Endeavour, heard from additional Virgin Galactic executives and had the opportunity to spend time with other fellow future astronauts.




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