AstroAccess Successfully Completes ZERO-G Parabolic Flight with Crew of 12 Disability Ambassadors

AstroAccess Flight 1 Ambassador, Apurva Varia, floating during a weightless parabola onboard Sunday’s flight. Apurva is a space mission director. He conducted demonstrations related to visual communications and using ASL for safety procedure signaling in microgravity. (Credit: AstroAccess/Zero G Corporation)

LONG BEACH, Calif., October 18, 2021 (AstroAccess PR) – AstroAccess, an initiative dedicated to advancing disability inclusion in space exploration, and Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G) successfully completed a parabolic flight with a crew of 12 ambassadors with mobility, vision, and hearing disabilities on Sunday, October 17.

On Sunday, the ZERO-G aircraft ascended to an altitude of 32,000 feet, at which point the vehicle commenced its parabolic maneuvers. Ambassadors carried out planned demonstrations over the course of 15 arcs, experiencing multiple minutes of weightlessness.

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AstroAccess Reveals Crew of 12 Disability Ambassadors for Historic ZERO-G Parabolic Flight

Credit: Zero G Corporation

12 ambassadors selected to participate in weightless parabolic flight on October 17

Ambassadors with mobility, vision, and hearing disabilities will test the design for accessibility in zero-gravity and high gravity environments

LONG BEACH, Calif., October 5, 2021 (AstroAccess PR) – AstroAcccess, a mission dedicated to advancing disability inclusion in space exploration, today unveils a crew of 12 ambassadors selected to participate in a parabolic flight with the Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G) on 17 October 2021.

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Book: Virgin Galactic’s President Moses Believed Company’s Flight Projections were a “Pipe Dream”

Richard Branson’s space tourism company used similar numbers to go public on the New York Stock Exchange. Were investors duped?
Michael Moses

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Nicholas Schmidle’s book about Virgin Galactic and SpaceShipTwo is coming out on Tuesday. In an essay he wrote for The New York Times, he recounted how Virgin Galactic President Michael Moses didn’t believe the company’s own flight projections when they were presented to him by its then-chief financial officer.

At one point, I was leaked a cache of internal documents. Some revealed the depth of Virgin Galactic’s oftentimes shaky grip on reality.

In 2013, Mike Moses, at the time Virgin Galactic’s senior vice president for operations, was sent an email containing a chart from Virgin Galactic’s chief financial officer at the time, Ken Sunshine. The chart showed a radical uptick in flight operations, projecting 75 flights in 2015, 194 in 2016, 229 in 2017 and 264 in 2018. “No chance in hell,” replied Mr. Moses, who is Beth’s husband. “These numbers are a pipe dream.” (Mr. Moses, through a representative, declined to comment on those emails.)

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Virgin Galactic Launches Space Advisory Board Led by Chief Space Officer

George Whitesides

MOJAVE, Calif. (Virgin Galactic PR) — Virgin Galactic today announced the establishment of its Space Advisory Board.

The Virgin Galactic Space Advisory Board will provide advice to senior management as the company moves forward to open space for the benefit of all.  The Space Advisory Board, composed of leading experts from the aerospace sector, will be a resource as the company starts commercial spaceflight service and develops next generation vehicles. The Space Advisory Board will also serve as a forum to discuss technical and operational best practices, and provide awareness of opportunities in commercial, civil and government-related markets.

The Space Advisory Board members announced today are:

  • Chris Hadfield – Decorated astronaut, engineer, and test pilot who served as commander of the International Space Station. He has flown to space three times, to the International Space Station and the Russian Space Station Mir.  He has performed two spacewalks and flown over 100 types of aircraft.  He was NASA’s Chief CAPCOM, the voice of Mission Control to astronauts in orbit, for 25 Space Shuttle missions, and served as chief of International Space Station Operations at the NASA Johnson Space Center.
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As Virgin Galactic Crew Celebrated Second Suborbital Flight, Problems Loomed Behind the Scenes

Chief Pilot David Mackay celebrates a successful flight with champagne as Chief Astronaut Beth Moses looks on. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Newly arrived back on Earth after a quick visit to space, Virgin Galactic Chief Astronaut Beth Moses was effusive as she described the suborbital flight she had just taken aboard the company’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane, VSS Unity.

“Richard, you’re going to love it!” she told Virgin Chairman Richard Branson, who had remotely monitored the Feb. 22, 2019 flight that had taken place over California’s Mojave Desert.

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For New Virgin Galactic CEO, the Ultimate Perk: An All-Expenses Paid Trip to Space

Michael Colglazier (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

For 26 years, Michael Colglazier worked for a company whose theme parks feature a popular attraction named Space Mountain. They aren’t really mountains and they don’t go anywhere near space, but as rollercoasters they are pretty good.

When the former Walt Disney Company executive signed on to become Virgin Galactic’s CEO in July, his contract included a free ride to space for himself and three friends aboard his new employer’s SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle.

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Supersonic & Hypersonic Civilian Transport Projects in Development

Overture supersonic passenger jet (Credit: Boom Supersonic)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Boom Supersonic’s recent rollout of its XB-1 supersonic demonstrator aircraft marked a milestone in an accelerating race to revive an era of civilian supersonic travel that ended when the Concorde jetliner was retired in 2003.

XB-1, aka Baby Boom, is set to begin flight tests next year from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The Mach 2.2 (2,717 km/h, 1,688 mph) vehicle is the precursor to Boom’s 55-seat Overture airliner, which is scheduled to begin carrying passengers in 2029.

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Virgin Galactic to Conduct Suborbital Flight in Late October After Long Hiatus

SpaceShipTwo Unity’s second powered flight.

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Virgin Galactic plans to resume suborbital flight tests of SpaceShipTwo (SS2) VSS Unity in late October from Spaceport America in New Mexico after a 20-month long hiatus, according to a filing the company made with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

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George Whitesides to Fly on Early Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Flight from Spaceport America

Richard Branson (l) and George Whitesides (r, back) walk with SpaceShipTwo pilots David Mackay and Mark Stucky after a successful glide flight. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A provision in George Whitesides’ contract has Virgin Galactic’s chief space officer — and possibly his wife, Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides — flying on one of SpaceShipTwo’s early suborbital flights from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

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Virgin Galactic Announces First Stage Design Scope for Supersonic Jet, Signs Non-binding MOU with Rolls Royce

Virgin Galactic Mach 3 jet. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

LAS CRUCES, N.M. 3 August 2020 (Virgin Galactic PR) – Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) (“Virgin Galactic”), a vertically integrated aerospace and space travel company, which includes its manufacturer of advanced air and space vehicles, The Spaceship Company (“TSC”), announced today the first stage design scope for the build of its high speed aircraft design, and the signing of a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rolls-Royce to collaborate in designing and developing engine propulsion technology for high speed commercial aircraft.

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Virgin Galactic Replaces George Whitesides as CEO with Disney Executive

George Whitesides

MOJAVE, Calif. (Virgin Galactic PR) –Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) (“Virgin Galactic”), a vertically integrated aerospace and space travel company, today announced the appointments of Michael Colglazier as Virgin Galactic’s new Chief Executive Officer and George Whitesides as Chief Space Officer, effective July 20, 2020.

Michael assumes the CEO role at an exciting time for Virgin Galactic as the Company progresses through its test flight program and prepares for commercial service. He will also join the Company’s Board of Directors effective July 20, 2020. Michael joins Virgin Galactic following a long and successful career at The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS), bringing over three decades of experience in developing and growing consumer-oriented multi-billion dollar businesses strategically, commercially, and operationally.

Most recently Michael was President and Managing Director, Disney Parks International, where he was responsible for operations, strategy, and commercial and experiential development of Disney’s international parks and resorts.

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Virgin Galactic Signs Agreement with NASA for Private Orbital Spaceflight to Space Station

SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity makes first glide flight at Spaceport America in New Mexico. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Increases Commercial Participation in Human Spaceflight to ISS to Advance LEO Economy

(MOJAVE, California) – June 22, 2020 – Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) (“Virgin Galactic” or “the Company”), a vertically integrated aerospace company, announced today the signing of a Space Act Agreement with NASA’s Johnson Space Center to encourage commercial participation in orbital human spaceflight to the International Space Station (“ISS”) while enabling the development of a robust economy in Low Earth Orbit.

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Virgin Galactic Signs Space Act Agreement with NASA in COVID-19 Fight

An employee works on the Aerospace Valley Positive Pressure Helmet, a device that was successfully tested by doctors at Antelope Valley Hospital in California. The Spaceship Company began producing 500 this week and a request was submitted April 22 to the FDA for an emergency use authorization. NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California partnered with Antelope Valley Hospital, the City of Lancaster, Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company (TSC), Antelope Valley College and members of the Antelope Valley Task Force to solve possible shortages of critical medical equipment in the local community. (Credits: NASA)

by George Whitesides
Virgin Galactic CEO

During the current global crisis, we believe that the space industry has a responsibility to share expertise, knowledge, resources, and ingenuity to aid in the fight against COVID-19. That’s why, today, we are proud to share that Virgin Galactic is meeting this responsibility head-on through a Space Act Agreement with NASA.

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Virgin Galactic Builds Prototype Patient Oxygen Hood to Address COVID-19 Pandemic

Supporting our Communities: Our work with the Antelope Valley COVID-19 Task Force

George Whitesides
CEO Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company

As we all continue to feel the direct impact of COVID-19 in our day-to-day lives, I’ve been inspired by the teamwork shown in the Antelope Valley (AV) of California to respond to the challenge of COVID-19. Now more than ever, it is crucial that we share knowledge, skills and collaborate.

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Virgin Galactic Supports its Communities During COVID-19 Pandemic

George Whitesides

Message from George Whitesides
Virgin Galactic CEO

All over the globe, we are seeing and feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This is one of the most significant crises we have seen in our lifetimes.  Whether it is the brave doctors and nurses working around the clock to help patients, children helping their elderly parents stay safe and fed, or parents and teachers keeping their kids educated while schools are physically closed – we are all in this together and we have a responsibility to help care for one another.

With the impact of COVID-19 mounting every day, our team has worked hard to help tackle this crisis, with an initial focus on the communities we work in.  I am proud of the commitment and initiative of our people at Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company, and Virgin Group in helping to support relief efforts.  Led by our in-house flight doctors, our COVID-19 team has been working closely with local hospitals, commercial suppliers, and government authorities to provide help where it is needed most.

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