June 28, 2013
On this day, every NASA Academy across the country was introduced via video conference. Also present during the conference were several executives from Virgin Galactic (VG), all of whom were Alumni of NASA Academy. Will Pomerantz gave an inspirational overview of the history and future of VG’s suborbital flight vehicle. VG wants the experience to be safe, fun, and done correctly. Will explained if the trip isn’t enjoyable, the entire nation may be turned off by only a handful of celebrities. The trip starts out of Spaceport America, near White Sands, NM.
The mission takes off via runway on White Knight Two. At 50,000 feet, White Knight Two will release SpaceShipTwo (much like a Pegasus rocket), which will then boost for four minutes. It will travel to 110km and the spaceship will experience microgravity for about 3.5 minutes. The wings will feather out for a glide back, landing on the runway at the spaceport. Total mission time will be 1.5 hours. The VG team also talked about their LauncherOne launch vehicle and plans that they have to establish the first spaceline.
One by one, each of the VG members discussed their background; specifically, they discussed their experiences with NASA Academy and how it played a part in leading them to work at VG and the newspace industry. Sound advice on resumes, career, and life were given. This was a very unique experience for the Academites who definitely appreciated the opportunity to learn from professionals. Surely some current Academy students will go on to work at Virgin Galactic and to further propel the newspace industry forward.