Former Top Federal Regulator to Fly on Unregulated Spaceship

Jeff Bezos pins Blue Origin astronaut wings on actor William Shatner. (Credit: Blue Origin webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The first three passenger flights of Blue Origin’s New Shepard have been long on symbolism. On the first one, Jeff Bezos invited Wally Funk, who in 1960 was one of 13 women who underwent the same medical checks as the Original Seven Mercury astronauts. NASA wasn’t accepting female pilots at the time, so Funk had to wait 51 years to reach space.

New Shepard’s second flight included starship Capt. James T. Kirk, or more precisely, the actor who played the “Star Trek” captain, William Shatner. The third flight had Laura Shepard Churchley, the daughter of America’s first astronaut to fly to space, who launched aboard a vehicle named after her father, Alan.

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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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National Space Council to Meet Next Tuesday

Vice President Mike Pence addresses NASA employees, Thursday, July 6, 2017, at the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

Fifth Meeting of the National Space Council

Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2019, at 12:00 p.m. CDT
Location: Saturn V Hall, Davidson Center for Space Exploration, U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, Ala.

Panel 1: “Ready to Fly”

  • Gen. Les Lyles, USAF (ret.), former Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force
  • Col. Eileen Collins, USAF (ret.), former Shuttle commander
  • Dr. Sandy Magnus, former Shuttle astronaut

Panel 2: “Ready to Explore”

  • Dan Dumbacher, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • Dr. Jack Burns, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Wanda Sigur, independent consultant