MOJAVE, Calif. (VG PR) — Virgin Galactic today announced the appointment of Doug Shane as Executive Vice President and General Manager of The Spaceship Company (TSC). Shane joins the company after a 31 year career at Scaled Composites LLC (Scaled), where he served as that company’s President for five years. He will report directly to George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic and TSC.
As the company progresses through its successful test flight program and approaches the start of commercial service with SpaceShipTwo, Virgin Galactic has tapped Shane to oversee its manufacturing company, TSC, which has already begun the construction of the second set of SpaceShipTwo spaceships and WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft. TSC began as a joint venture between Virgin and Scaled, until 2012, when Virgin Galactic acquired full ownership of the venture.
“Doug’s unmatched background in the design, build and flight test of new aerospace vehicles, and his deep experience with our Spaceship program, make him the perfect person to take on this leadership role to manufacture our fleet of spacecraft,” said Whitesides. “I would also like to recognize the achievements of Enrico Palermo, TSC’s VP of Operations, who took TSC from a bare hanger to the thriving organization it is today, and who will continue in his senior leadership position supporting Doug.”
Following a distinguished career at Scaled Composites, Shane brings to TSC an intimate knowledge of both the SpaceShipTwo program and its predecessor, SpaceShipOne. While at Scaled, Shane conducted the first flights of eight different aircraft, maintained a perfect aviation safety record, and led Scaled’s acquisition of an FAA Commercial Launch License for SpaceShipOne, the first ever crewed commercial licensed launch. In addition to serving as Director of Flight Operations, Shane served for many years as VP of Business Development, increasing Scaled’s revenue more than tenfold. Shane became President of Scaled following the retirement of company founder and aerospace legend Burt Rutan. Shane has also served as President of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP).
Shane said, “I am truly excited to join TSC at this critical stage of its growth and capabilities, and look forward to helping enable Sir Richard Branson’s vision for space.”
Shane holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Kansas and numerous awards, including the Iven C. Kincheloe and James H. Doolittle awards from the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, as well as the Robert J. Collier Trophy.
Editor’s Note: Shane took over as president of Scaled Composites from founder Burt Rutan in 2008 and served until January of this year when he was replaced by Kevin Mickey. In a press release, Scaled said Shane “has taken on a special assignment to directly support the completion of testing and the transition of commercial operations for the Virgin Galactic and Stratolaunch programs. Shane took on numerous assignments for Scaled Composites before being named president in 2008. He will be valuable in helping these two important customers move closer to commercial space operations.”
About Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic, owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and aabar Investments PJS, is on track to be the world’s first commercial spaceline. To date, the company has accepted nearly $80 million in deposits from approximately 610 individuals, which is approximately 10% more than the total number of people who have ever gone to space. The new spaceship (SpaceShipTwo, VSS Enterprise) and carrier craft (WhiteKnightTwo, VMS Eve) have both been developed for Virgin Galactic’s vehicle fleet by Mojave-based Scaled Composites. Founded by Burt Rutan, Scaled developed SpaceShipOne, which in 2004 claimed the $10 million Ansari X Prize as the world’s first privately developed manned spacecraft. Virgin Galactic’s new vehicles, which will be manufactured by Virgin Galactic in Mojave, Calif., share much of the same basic design, but are being built to carry six customers, or the equivalent scientific research payload, on suborbital space flights. The vehicles will allow an out-of-the-seat, zero-gravity experience with astounding views of the planet from the black sky of space for tourist astronauts and a unique microgravity platform for researchers. The VSS Enterprise and VMS Eve test flight program is well under way, leading to Virgin Galactic commercial operations, which will be based at Spaceport America in New Mexico.
About The Spaceship Company
Headquartered at Mojave Air and Space Port, The Spaceship Company is the aerospace production company, founded by Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites, which is building the world’s first fleet of commercial spaceships (SpaceShipTwos) and carrier aircraft (WhiteKnightTwos)intended to make regular, commercial, manned space travel a reality. TSC’s operations now stretch over 150,000 square feet in three separate facilities and its team has grown to over 145 individuals.