Virgin Galactic CEO and Former NASA Chief of Staff on Space Travel in 2020--George Whitesides

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By Justin "HASARD" Lee. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

My guest today is George Whitesides, who is the CEO and President of Virgin Galactic, the spaceflight company founded by Sir Richard Branson. With Scaled Composites, the company has developed the WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo vehicles, based on the X Prize-winning SpaceShipOne. In his role, he is responsible for guiding all aspects of the company to commercial operation at Spaceport America.

Prior to Virgin Galactic, he served as Chief of Staff for NASA. Upon departure from the agency he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award the agency confers. He is also a fellow of the UK’s Royal Aeronautical Society.

In our conversation we talk about the strengths and weaknesses of NASA, how space exploration is like aviation 100 years ago, and what the future of Virgin Galactic looks like. Below are the show notes and associated time stamps:

  • Background (minute 02:40)
  • Strengths and weaknesses of NASA (06:45)
  • Working with Richard Branson (10:45)
  • Leadership (15:00)
  • How they're getting to space (19:00)
  • Training (24:00)
  • How space will change our culture (25:00)
  • Lots of technical questions... (27:00)
  • Next 5-10 years for VG (37:15)
  • Aviation 100 years ago (39:15)
  • SpaceX and Blue Origin (43:30)

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This episode was edited by Trevor Cabler
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