Virgin Galactic’s test pilot is called Mike ‘Sooch’ Masucci (pictured). He’s racked up more than 9000 hours in the air, graduated from the US Air Force’s pilot training academy in 1986 - think Top Gun - and has flown more than 70 different aircraft, including the U-2, the F-16, and the T-38. Sooch is Tom Wolfe’s ‘right stuff’ personified.
The CEO is George Whitesides, who has the unflappable air of one of those White House aides who were forever popping up in The West Wing or 24. You’d be happy if George was looking after things for you. No wonder: he used to be NASA’s Chief of Staff.
Vice President of Operations is Mike Moses. He ran the last 12 Space Shuttle missions NASA conducted, before the programme was mothballed. He’d be a good man to go to the pub with.
TopGear.com caught up with them as they announced the new partnership deal with Land Rover as part of the unveiling of the Discovery Vision concept in New York. Here are 10 things we learned about the world’s first commercial spaceline, as the countdown to its inaugural flight at the end of the year gathers pace.
Words: Jason Barlow