Virgin Galactic Appoints Enrico Palermo as COO

Enrico Palermo (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

MOJAVE, Calif., January 15, 2020 (Virgin Galactic PR) – Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) (“VG” or “the Company”), a vertically integrated aerospace company, is pleased to announce the appointment of Enrico Palermo as Chief Operating Officer (COO), effective immediately. In this newly created role, Enrico will be responsible for helping maintain efficiency and peak performance across the enterprise as it develops as a public company, and will lead the execution of specific company strategies and initiatives.

Enrico currently serves as President of The Spaceship Company (TSC), the wholly-owned aerospace manufacturing and development subsidiary of VG. In this role, Enrico leads over 500 employees at the company’s facilities in Mojave, California. He joined Virgin Galactic in 2006 as one of its first employees. Enrico will maintain his capacity of TSC President.

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Virgin Galactic Announces Date for Fourth Quarter, Full Year Financial Results

MOJAVE, Calif. (Virgin Galactic PR)–Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) (“VG” or “the Company”), a vertically integrated aerospace company, today announced that it will report its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2019 following the close of the U.S. markets on Tuesday, February 25, 2020. VG will host a conference call to discuss the results that day at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time (5:00 p.m. Eastern Time).

A live webcast and replay of the conference call will be available on the Company’s Investor Relations website at investors.virgingalactic.com.

About Virgin Galactic Holdings

Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. is a vertically-integrated aerospace company pioneering human spaceflight for private individuals and researchers. It believes the commercial exploration of space represents one of the most exciting and significant technology initiatives of our time. It is embarking on this commercial exploration journey with a mission to put humans into space and return them safely to earth on a routine, consistent and affordable basis. Using its proprietary and reusable technologies, and supported by a distinctive, Virgin-branded customer experience, it is developing a spaceflight system designed to offer customers a unique, multi-day experience culminating in a spaceflight that includes several minutes of weightlessness and views of Earth from space. It is in the final stages of development, having already completed multiple crewed flights of its vehicle into space, and anticipates initial commercial launch in 2020.

Collaboratory Formed to Promote New Mexico’s Spaceport America During Closed Door Meeting

Sunset at the “Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space” terminal hangar facility at Spaceport America. (Credit: Bill Gutman/Spaceport America)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Officials from New Mexico, the federal government and Virgin Galactic met last week behind closed doors for the state’s first Space Valley Summit to form a “collaboratory” to promote Spaceport America and the state’s aerospace economy.

The one group not invited: taxpayers who have forked over about $250 million to build the spaceport where Virgin Galactic is the anchor tenant. As the Las Cruces Sun News dryly noted

Minutes after [Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham] exhorted the summit to “make sure every New Mexican … knows exactly what is happening here,” all reporters were asked to leave. 

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The Federation Announces Commercial Space Leadership Awards

Washington D.C. – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is excited to announce the winners of the 2020 Commercial Space Leadership Awards in recognition of leading innovators, investors, educators, journalists, and policymakers for their significant contributions to the success of the commercial space industry. The United States is undergoing a renaissance in space, and the commercial industry plays a pivotal role in this major transformation. 

The 2020 winners are:

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SpaceShipTwo No. 3 Reaches Milestone

Video Caption: Major milestone complete – the next spaceship in our fleet is, for the first time, carrying its own weight. In this milestone, all major structural elements of the vehicle were assembled and the vehicle deployed its main landing gear.

Original Firefly Shareholders Sue Firefly’s Markusic, Polyakov Alleging Fraud

Tom Markusic

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A group of original shareholders in the defunct Firefly Space Systems have accused co-founder and CEO Tom Markusic of fraudulently conspiring with Ukrainian billionaire Maxym Polyakov to force the rocket company into bankruptcy in 2017 and reconstitute it under a nearly identical name without giving them any stake in the new venture.

Markusic “betrayed the trust of his original co-founders and investors and committed fraud to cut them out of his aerospace company. Instead of managing the operations of the Original Firefly, a revolutionary rocket company with endless potential, Markusic schemed with…Maxym Polyakov…to rob Plaintiffs of their investments and form a new company called Firefly Aerospace, Inc. (the ‘New Firefly’),” the plaintiffs said in a lawsuit.

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Michelle Kley Appointed Virgin Galactic’s General Counsel, Secretary, and EVP of Legal

Michelle Kley

MOJAVE, Calif. (Virgin Galactic PR) — Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) (“VG” or “the Company”), the world’s first commercial space line and vertically integrated aerospace company, is pleased to announce the appointment of Michelle Kley as its new General Counsel, Secretary, and Executive Vice President of Legal.

Michelle is a highly experienced legal professional, who previously served as Senior Vice President, Chief Legal and Compliance Officer, and Secretary of Maxar Technologies Inc. Before joining Maxar, Michelle worked as a Corporate Associate for several law firms in San Francisco, including Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati P.C. and Morrison & Foerster LLP.

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Virgin Galactic Kicks Off Astronaut Readiness Program

Virgin Galactic kicks off Astronaut Readiness Program. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

BALTIMORE (Virgin Galactic PR) — Virgin Galactic has kicked off its Astronaut Readiness Program – the process of preparing Future Astronaut customers for their flights to space. As the first and only private company to have put humans into space in a vehicle built for commercial service, we are now finalizing all elements of the customer experience, including the recently unveiled customer spacesuits, created in partnership with Under Armour, and the interior of our Gateway to Space headquarters at Spaceport America. The next phase in this process is to ensure that Future Astronauts are optimally prepared to fly to space.

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My Podcast Appearance on Tipping Point New Mexico

I recently talked with Paul Gessing who runs the Tipping Point New Mexico podcast. We talked about my article, “Spaceport America and Virgin Galactic: The Numbers Never Added Up,” which looked at the promises made to justifying spending $225 million on a custom-built spaceport for Richard Branson’s suborbital space tourism company. We also discussed Virgin Galactic’s recent move to go public.

Enjoy!

Five Years Ago SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise Crashed in the Mojave Desert

The spot where part of SpaceShipTwo’s cockpit crashed with the body of Mike Alsbury. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Five years ago today, SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise broke up over the Mojave Desert during a flight test. Co-pilot Mike Alsbury died and pilot Pete Siebold was seriously injured.

The crash ended Virgin Galactic’s effort to begin commercial crewed suborbital spaceflights in the first quarter of 2015. Those flights are not forecast to begin in June 2020 — five years later than planned.

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Virgin Galactic Crew and Customers to Receive Space Pins from the Association of Space Explorers

Chief Astronaut Trainer Beth Moses floats in the cabin as David Mackay and Michael “Sooch” Masucci pilot VSS. Unity. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

WASHINGTON (Virgin Galactic PR) — Crew and customers who fly to space on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, will be awarded space pins by the Association of Space Explorers (ASE).

The first pin was presented to Virgin Galactic Chief Astronaut Instructor, Beth Moses, at the International Astronautical Conference in Washington DC.

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Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Goes Public With Extravagant Promises to Keep

Richard Branson wears the SpaceShipTwo flight suit. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

After 15 years of making extravagant but unkept promises to fly more than 600 “future astronauts” to space, Richard Branson must now please an entirely new group of people who are usually much shorter on patience: shareholders.

Following the completion last week of a merger with Social Capital Hedosophia (SCH), the British billionaire’s Virgin Galactic suborbital “space line” will begin trading under its own name on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Monday.

Going public now is an unusual move for a space tourism company that hasn’t flown a singlet tourist to space since Branson announced the SpaceShipTwo program in 2004. Some might see it has putting the cart before the horse.

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Virgin Galactic Completes Merger with Social Capital Hedosophia

SpaceShipTwo Unity during third flight test. (Credit: MarsScientific.com & Trumbull Studios)

NEW YORK, October 25, 2019 (Virgin Galactic PR) — Virgin Galactic (“VG”), a vertically integrated aerospace company, and Social Capital Hedosophia (“SCH”), a public investment vehicle, today announced the completion of their previously announced business combination.

The resulting company is named Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (“VGH”) and its common stock, units and warrants are expected to commence trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the new ticker symbol “SPCE”, ”SPCE.U” and “SPCE WS”, respectively, on October 28, 2019. The Company manufactures its space vehicles in Mojave, California, through its aerospace development subsidiary The Spaceship Company, with commercial operations centered at Spaceport America in New Mexico.

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Virgin Galactic Goes Public on Monday

SpaceShipTwo after being released for its final flight. (Credit: Virgin Galactic/NTSB)

On Monday, Virgin Galactic will become the first space tourism company to be publicly traded on a stock exchange — without having flown a single space tourist in the two decades since Richard Branson founded the company.

The move to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) comes after shareholders of Social Capital Hedosophia (SCH) overwhelmingly approved an $774 million acquisition deal on Wednesday. The proposal received more than 95 percent of the 61.3 million votes cast.

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Spaceport America Releases Unredacted Leases

The Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space terminal hangar facility (center), Spaceport Operations Center (Left) and “Spaceway” (Runway) at Spaceport America. (Credit: Bill Gutman/Spaceport America)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NMPolitics.net and its publisher, Heath Haussamen, have settled a lawsuit against the secretive New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) that runs Spaceport America. The authority agreed to release a group of fully unredacted leases of tenants at the spaceport and to pay the website $60,000.

The released tenant leases included:

  • Energeticx.net
  • EXOS Aerospace
  • SpaceX
  • UP Aerospace
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