D-Orbit Appoints Jonathan Firth as COO

COMO, Italy (D-Orbit PR) — D-Orbit is pleased to announce the appointment of Jonathan Firth as its Group Chief Operating Officer (COO). As Group COO, he will have overall responsibility for internal operations.

Jonathan comes to D-Orbit with a breadth of experience. In his previous role as Virgin Galactic’s Spaceport and Program Development Executive Vice President, he has been directly involved in the development of the commercial space industry in the United States since 2004. He was a founding member of the senior executive team that started up Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company, and Virgin Orbit, overseeing the development of a commercial suborbital spaceflight system at Mojave Air and Space Port in California, the spacecraft vehicle reaching space altitude in Q4 2018, and the creation of the Gateway to Space operating facility at Spaceport America in New Mexico.

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Doug Shane & Jonathan Firth Depart Virgin Galactic, TSC

Doug Shane

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Richard Branson’s Mojave-based space companies have seen two high-level departures in recent months as they prepare to  launch SpaceShipTwo on a spaceflight for the first time.

Doug Shane has left his position as chairman of The Spaceship Company (TSC), which builds SpaceShipTwo suborbital tourism vehicles, WhiteKnightTwo mother ships, and propulsion systems for Virgin Galactic.

Shane remains a member of the company’s board of advisors. A Virgin Galactic spokesman said the company has not replaced Shane as chairman.

Jonathan Firth, who served as executive vice president of spaceport and program development, has also left Virgin Galactic after 14 years with the company.  Firth’s Linkin page indicates he has left Virgin Galactic but does not say when he did so.

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Branson’s Latest Prediction: SpaceShipTwo Rollout in February

A camera mounted atop the left vertical fin of Virgin Galactic/Scaled Composites SpaceShipTwo captures the vehicle gliding through the upper atmosphere after its rocket engine is shut down during a 2013 test flight. The Earth's horizon can be seen at lower right. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)
A camera mounted atop the left vertical fin of Virgin Galactic/Scaled Composites SpaceShipTwo captures the vehicle gliding through the upper atmosphere after its rocket engine is shut down during a 2013 test flight. The Earth’s horizon can be seen at lower right. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Richard Branson says Virgin Galactic will unveil the second SpaceShipTwo in February with tests to follow.

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