04 September 2019

Galactic Unite Launch STEM Scholarship at New Mexico State University

Galactic Unite – Virgin Galactic’s outreach initiative – has partnered with Ultimate Software to offer a new STEM scholarship for students at New Mexico State University.The scholarship has been created through a shared passion to drive positive change for young people through harnessing the power of space and will launch in the fall of 2019.  It will see five students awarded a one-year-long scholarship that includes 12 months mentoring with a Virgin Galactic team member. It will be granted to undergraduate students studying a degree in engineering at NMSU College of Engineering.NMSU has a large number of students pursuing careers in STEM industries and is home to the Atomic Aggies Club, a student organization enthusiastic about high-powered model rockets and practice safe rocketry at the intercollegiate engineering competition.

Virgin Galactic is launching this scholarship as it continues its relocation from Mojave, California to its commercial headquarters at Spaceport America, New Mexico.

The ‘Gateway to Space’ building will be the point of departure to, and return from, space for Future Astronauts and is now operationally ready. Last week the communal Gaia Lounge area, designed for use by Virgin Galactic customers and their families, was unveiled alongside the Cirrus spaceflight operations floor.There are now 109 Virgin Galactic team members based in New Mexico preparing the Gateway to Space for commercial service, with the rest set to join when SpaceShipTwo moves across from Mojave.

George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic, said, “New Mexico has played a pivotal role in the history of human space exploration. We’re delighted to be supporting New Mexico’s future leaders in space through this scholarship while we launch the world’s first commercial spaceline from the state at the same time.”

“We welcome the strong support by Virgin Galactic of NMSU as a whole and including financial aid for our students.  Their continued generosity is noteworthy and we look forward to expanding the partnership across multiple colleges over the months and years ahead,” said New Mexico State Chancellor Dan Arvizu. 

More information and media inquiries:

 https://www.image.netVirginGalacticPress@VirginGalactic.com 

About Virgin Galactic:

 Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company form 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 two crewed flights of its vehicle into space, and anticipate initial commercial launch in 2020. 

About Galactic Unite: 

 Galactic Unite is Virgin Galactic’s outreach initiative born out of a unique collaboration between the Future Astronaut community and Sir Richard Branson’s Foundation, Virgin Unite. Together they seek to drive positive change for young people by channeling their collective energy and resources – working to ensure that future generations are equipped to apply the space perspective to Earth’s greatest challenges. Galactic Unite offers both practical support and a planetary perspective to the engineers of the future. It harnesses the power of space to support and inspire young people to pursue an education in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). 

About Ultimate Software:

 Ultimate Software is a leading global provider of cloud-based human capital management and employee experience solutions. Our award-winning UltiPro delivers HR, payroll, talent, and time and labor management, as well as HR service delivery solutions. Founded in 1990, Ultimate is headquartered in Weston, Florida, and employs more than 5,400 professionals. In 2019, Fortune magazine and Great Place to Work ranked Ultimate #1 on their Best Workplaces in Technology list, in the “Large Companies” category, Ultimate’s fourth consecutive year to top the list. Ultimate was ranked #2 on PEOPLE’s Companies that Care list, Ultimate’s third consecutive year in the top three of the list. More information on Ultimate’s products and services can be found at www.ultimatesoftware.com

GEORGE WHITESIDES

GEORGE WHITESIDES

SPACE ADVISORY BOARD CHAIR

George T. Whitesides is the Chair of the Space Advisory Board, where he is responsible for bringing together aerospace leaders to advise the Virgin Galactic senior management team on the journey towards regular commercial spaceflight, developing the next generation vehicles and exploring new opportunities. Previously, George served as the Chief Space Officer of Virgin Galactic, spearheading the development of future technologies, including high speed, point-to-point travel and orbital flight, after stepping down as CEO in 2020.

George joined Virgin Galactic in 2010 as Chief Executive Officer. During George’s 10 years with the Company, he built the company from 30 people to a workforce of over 900, successfully guiding Virgin Galactic through its human space flight R&D and flight test program, culminating in two space flights. These historic flights saw the first humans launched into space from US soil since the retirement of the Space Shuttle, as well as the first woman to fly on a commercial space vehicle. George led the transition of operations from Mojave, California to Spaceport America, New Mexico, and oversaw the company’s successful public listing making it a multi-billion dollar company and creating the world’s first publicly traded human spaceflight venture.

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’s volunteer service includes Caltech’s Space Innovation Council, Princeton University’s Advisory Council for Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and the Antelope Valley Economic Development & Growth Enterprise. He is a fellow of the UK Royal Aeronautical Society and an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

He previously served as Vice Chair of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, chair of the Reusable Launch Vehicle Working Group for the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee, a member of the Board of Directors of Virgin Galactic, a member of the Board of Trustees of Princeton University, co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Space Technologies, 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 School of Public and International Affairs, 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.

He resides in California with his wife Loretta and two children.

CHRIS HADFIELD

CHRIS HADFIELD

SPACE ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER

Colonel Chris Hadfield is a heavily decorated astronaut, engineer, and test pilot who has commanded the International Space Station. Formerly NASA’s Director of Operations in Russia and veteran of three spaceflights, Hadfield’s many awards include the Order of Canada, the Meritorious Service Cross and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal. Hadfield is a three-time NYT bestselling author, a renowned musician, an adjunct professor at the University of Waterloo, chair of the board of the Open Lunar Foundation, and host of several internationally acclaimed television series. In addition, Hadfield leads the space stream at the Creative Destruction Lab, one of the world’s top tech incubators.

DR SANDRA MAGNUS

DR SANDRA MAGNUS

SPACE ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER

Dr. Sandra H. “Sandy” Magnus is the Principal at AstroPlanetview, LLC. Most recently she served as the Deputy Director of Engineering in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for the Undersecretary of Research and Engineering. In that role she served as the “Chief Engineer” for the Department of Defense establishing engineering policy, propagating best practices and working to connect the engineering community across the department.

Dr. Magnus is the former Executive Director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Prior to leading AIAA, she was a member of the NASA Astronaut Corps for 16 years. During her time at NASA she flew in space on the STS-112 shuttle mission in 2002, and on the final shuttle flight, STS-135, in 2011. In addition, she flew to the International Space Station on STS-126 in November 2008, served as flight engineer and science officer on Expedition 18, and returned home on STS-119 after four and a half months on board.

Following her assignment on Station, she served at NASA Headquarters in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Her last duty at NASA, after STS-135, was as the deputy chief of the Astronaut Office.

While at NASA, Dr. Magnus worked extensively with the international community, including the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), as well as with Brazil on facility-type payloads. She also spent time in Russia developing and integrating operational products and procedures for the International Space Station.

Before joining NASA, Dr. Magnus worked for McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company as a stealth engineer. While at McDonnell Douglas, she worked on internal R&D and on the Navy’s A-12 Attack Aircraft program.

Dr. Magnus has received numerous awards, including the NASA Space Flight Medal, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and the 40 at 40 Award (given to former collegiate women athletes to recognize the impact of Title IX).

DAVID A. WHELAN

DAVID A. WHELAN

SPACE ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER

Dr. David A. Whelan is the SVP Chief-Scientist of Cubic Corporation. Dr. Whelan retired from Boeing in 2017, as the Vice President, Engineering (BDS) and Board of Directors for HRL Laboratories. Whelan served as Director of the Tactical Technology Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and began his career at Northrop as designer of the B-2 Stealth Bomber. Whelan is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Physical Society and IEEE. He earned his Ph.D. Physics from UCLA; He holds over 75 US patents.