Virgin Galactic’s Next Challenge: The Flight of the Vested?

Richard Branson and other passengers float around in weightlessness. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

This was supposed to be the Summer of Virgin Galactic. The company would complete the three remaining suborbital flight tests of SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity, the second one with Richard Branson aboard. The company’s newest space tourism vehicle, SpaceShipIII, would begin its flight tests.

Once VSS Unity tests were complete, engineers would spend four months making a series of repairs and upgrades to the spacecraft and its WhiteKnightTwo mothership, VMS Eve. And then in early 2022, the company would use both spaceships to fly tourists on suborbital joy rides that were originally projected to begin 15 years earlier in 2007.

Sounds easy enough, right? It wasn’t. The Summer of Virgin Galactic went about as well as the Summer of George on Seinfeld. If best laid plans of mice, men and Costanzas often go awry, Virgin Galactic’s schedules are guaranteed to move significantly to the right. Years to the right.

(more…)

Virgin Galactic Brings Disney VP to Serve as Chief People Officer

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Virgin Galactic PR) — Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) (the “Company” or “Virgin Galactic”), a vertically integrated aerospace and space travel company, today announced that veteran human resources executive Aparna Chitale will join the company as its Chief People Officer (CPO) on September 30, 2021.

Chitale brings over 20 years of strategic experience at multi-national organizations, where she has scaled and led global teams at both public and privately held companies. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Human Resources at Disney Parks Experiences and Products.

Michael Colglazier, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Galactic, said, “I’m delighted to welcome Aparna to the Virgin Galactic team. She has an outstanding track record building and supporting highly skilled teams across engineering, maintenance, safety, and technical services. Aparna also brings deep experience hiring and developing top talent in global destinations around the world to support rapid growth. This unique background, combined with her proven ability to foster a high performance culture rooted in a diverse and inclusive work environment, will support Virgin Galactic’s ambitious growth strategy.”

(more…)