CEO, Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company
George T. Whitesides is the CEO of Virgin Galactic, Sir Richard Branson’s human spaceflight venture, and The Spaceship Company, a manufacturer of advanced space vehicles. With its innovative spacecraft, the company seeks to transform access to space to change the world for good.
Prior to Virgin Galactic, George served as Chief of Staff for NASA. Upon departure from the American space agency, he received the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award the agency confers.
George serves as co-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Space Technologies. He is a member of Caltech’s Space Innovation Council, Vice Chair of Commercial Spaceflight Federation, Director on the Antelope Valley Board of Trade and Princeton University’s Advisory Council for Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He is a fellow of the UK Royal Aeronautical Society and an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
He previously chaired the Reusable Launch Vehicle Working Group for the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee, and served on the Board of Trustees of Princeton University and the board of Virgin Unite USA. George has testified on American space policy before the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives, and the President’s Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy. An honors graduate of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, George later earned a master’s degree in geographic information systems and remote sensing from the University of Cambridge, and a Fulbright Scholarship to Tunisia. George is a licensed private pilot and certified parabolic flight coach.