George Whitesides

George Whitesides

George Whitesides

CEO
Virgin Galactic

George Whitesides is CEO of Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company. He is responsible for guiding all aspects of building the company's commercial spaceline, including the spaceflight program as well as small satellite launch capability. He also is responsible for manufacturing a fleet of WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo space vehicles. Previously, Whitesides served as chief of staff for NASA, where he received the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award the agency confers. Prior to NASA, Whitesides served as executive director of the National Space Society, a space policy and advocacy group founded by Apollo program leader Wernher von Braun and  journalist Hugh Downs. He is on Caltech's Space Innovation Council and the advisory board of the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement. He also is a fellow of the UK Royal Aeronautical Society. Whitesides previously chaired the Reusable Launch Vehicle Working Group for the FAA's Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee. He  has served on the board of trustees of Princeton University and Virgin Unite USA, and was a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Space Security. He has testified on American space policy before the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and the President's Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy. Whitesides holds an undergraduate degree from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School and a master's degree in geographic information systems and remote sensing from the University of Cambridge in England. He was a Fulbright Scholar to Tunisia. He is a licensed private pilot and certified parabolic flight coach.