Mojave Jobs: Virgin Galactic Needs a Vice President of Safety

SpaceShipTwo lights its engine as WhiteKnightTwo flies overhead. (Credit: Ken Brown)
SpaceShipTwo lights its engine as WhiteKnightTwo flies overhead. (Credit: Ken Brown)

Parabolic Arc is pleased to launch a new series looking at job openings here in Mojave. Today we’re taking a closer look at Virgin Galactic, which plans to launch commercial space tourism later this year. The space tourism company, which says that safety is its North Star, needs a vice president of safety.

This position has been advertised on the Virgin Galactic website for months now. Jon Turnipseed is listed as holding that position on Our Team section of the Virgin Galactic website. Oddly enough, multiple sources in Mojave say he has been gone from that post since around the beginning of last summer even as SpaceShipTwo has performed two powered flights. So, this must be a difficult position to fill.

UPDATE VIA WILL POMERANTZ: Some info on that specific job opening, since the rumor mill is churning out bad data (as seems to be the case so often): Jon Turnipseed’s last day as a full time employee was Dec 19, but he is still serving as a contractor to the company. Jon left big shoes to fill when he retired after spending several years here at VG/TSC (in addition to a great career with the US Air Force), but we are now interviewing our final candidates for the job. Of course, we remain open to great candidates who haven’t yet gotten in touch—it’s  important to get the best possible person for the job!


Just how hard is that position to fill? Well, let’s look at the duties and requirements, shall we?


The screen shot above shows the main responsibilities of the position, foremost of which is to “sustain a vibrant safety culture throughout the unique Virgin Galactic business.” The safety VP does that by setting standards, delivering measurable results, working with the The Spaceship Company that is building SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo, and acting as the subject matter expert for FAA and OSHA regulations.

Virgin Galactic has a long list of qualifications for the position.

Educational requirements include a master’s degree in Safety, Engineering, or related fields. The company considers Certified Safety Professional certification as a plus.

Think you meet the requirements? If so, apply here.