Events

December 13, 2013

Private space vehicle innovators to headline at economic outlook event

Senior executives of two companies partnered in pioneering civilian space travel and new commercial space business will be among the speakers for the Feb. 21, 2014 Antelope Valley Business Outlook Conference at Southern Californiaís Mojave Air and Space Port.

The Antelope Valley Board of Trade, organizer of the annual day-long event, announced that George T. Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic, the spaceflight company founded by Sir Richard Branson, and Kevin Mickey, president of† Scaled Composites, which won the X-Prize by being the first private company to carry passengers to space and back, have accepted invitations to appear on the program.

The two private sector aerospace leaders will address an audience of up to 800 at the conference, which also includes Astronaut Mark Kelly. Email vicki@avbot.org for ticket reservations.

Scaled Composites, founded by legendary Antelope Valley aerospace innovator Burt Rutan, achieved international recognition in the mid-1980s for designing and building ìVoyager,î which his brother Dick flew around the world non-stop and unrefueled.† Scaled found greater fame with the first ever private launch of people into space aboard SpaceShipOne.

Scaled Composites, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, is developing SpaceShipTwo and its launch vehicle, WhiteKnightTwo , in addition to designing and building the worldís largest wingspan airplane for Stratolaunch a Paul Allen company

Last year Virgin Galactic, the worldís first commercial spaceline, took full ownership of its sister organization, The Spaceship Company, earlier formed under a joint venture with Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic.

During this development phase, The Spaceship Company† completed the build out of manufacturing and assembly facilities at Mojave Air and Space Port,† established a specialized workforce and transitioned† assets from Scaled† to begin building Virgin Galacticís commercial fleet of WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft and SpaceShipTwo manned sub-orbital spacecraft. The vehicles will be used for Virgin Galacticís spaceline operations at Spaceport America in southern New Mexico.

Whitesides is responsible for guiding all aspects of the company to commercial operation, including oversight of The Spaceship Company at Mojave, Calif.

Before joining Virgin Galactic, Whitesides served as chief of staff for NASA, where he provided policy and staff support to the agencyís administrator. Upon departure from NASA, he received the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award the agency confers. Prior to his role at NASA, Whitesides served as Executive Director of the National Space Society, a space policy and advocacy group founded by Apollo program leader Wernher von Braun and the journalist Hugh Downs.

Whitesdies began his career at Orbital Sciences Corporation as executive intern, and later, special assistant to the president. He served as vice president of Marketing for Zero Gravity Corporation, a private space-tourism company, during its launch period, and director of marketing for Blastoff Corporation, a space experience company funded by film and technology leaders.

Currently, Whitesides serves on the board of Virgin Unite USA, the philanthropic organization of Virgin Group. He is also a member of the World Economic Forumís Global Agenda Council on Space Security; an advisory board member of the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation; a fellow of the UKís Royal Aeronautical Society; and an associate fellow of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics.† He previously chaired the Reusable Launch Vehicle Working Group for the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee. He served for four years on the Board of Trustees of Princeton University.

An honors graduate of Princeton Universityís Woodrow Wilson School, Whitesides earned his undergraduate degree in public and international affairs. He earned a masterís degree in geographic information systems and remote sensing from the University of Cambridge in England, and was a Fulbright Scholar to Tunisia. George is a licensed private pilot and certified parabolic flight coach.




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