VIRGIN GALACTIC PR — PASADENA, Calif.– Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline, owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Aabar Investments PJS, has appointed Kenneth H. Sunshine as its first Chief Financial Officer.
In this newly created role, Sunshine will be responsible for managing the company’s financial strategy, driving growth and overseeing all finance and accounting functions as Virgin Galactic transitions from a development project to a commercially operational business.
Prior to joining Virgin Galactic, Sunshine served as Chief Financial Officer at MDA Information Systems. He has also previously worked as CFO of the National Institute of Aerospace, CFO of Aurora Flight Sciences, Senior Vice President of Finance at Orbital Science Corporation, and as an engineer at Draper Laboratories. Sunshine received an MBA from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania and an engineering degree from Tufts University.
Virgin Galactic President and CEO George Whitesides said: “We are delighted that Ken has agreed to join the company as our first Chief Financial Officer as we transition toward commercial operations. Ken brings with him a wealth of experience in the space business, including strategic planning, fundraising through the capital markets, and mergers and acquisitions. He has implemented and managed a variety of financial structures, including successful IPOs.”
Sunshine joins Virgin Galactic as a well-capitalized business at a momentous period in its development. Test flying of the first SpaceshipTwo is well underway and the company’s future home at Spaceport America in New Mexico is at an advanced stage of construction. In addition, Virgin Galactic has taken over 440 deposits from future astronauts totaling $58 million, representing $88 million worth of future revenue.
Commenting on his appointment, Ken Sunshine added: “Virgin Galactic is the clear leader in the new commercial manned space industry, and as such, I can think of nowhere I would rather be working. I join a company which is properly funded by Virgin Group and Aabar Investments PJS, with proven technology, and an impressive order book of future astronauts. I very much look forward to playing a full part in bringing this incredible project to fruition with a particular focus on its commercial success – not only to deliver value to our shareholders but to help pave the way for a new and thriving industry.”
About Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic is on track to become the world’s first commercial spaceline. The new spaceship (VSS Enterprise) and mothership (VMS Eve) are both being developed for Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic by Mojave based Scaled Composites. Founded by Burt Rutan, Scaled developed SpaceShipOne, which in 2004 claimed the $10m Ansari X Prize as the world’s first privately developed manned spacecraft. Virgin Galactic’s new vehicles share much of the same architecture but are being built to carry six passengers and two pilots on commercial sub-orbital spaceflights, allowing an out-of-seat zero gravity experience and offering astounding views of the planet from the black sky of space.
The test flight program for the new vehicles is well underway and will continue prior to the start of commercial operations which will be based at Virgin Galactic’s headquarters at Spaceport America in New Mexico.
In July 2009, Virgin Galactic announced that it had sold a 32% stake in the company to Abu Dhabi based Aabar Investments PJS for $280 million.