Virgin Galactic Brings 300 Future Astronauts 'Behind the Hangar Doors'
Me and 299 other Virgin Galactic Future Astronauts were on hand in Mojave last week for a very special "behind the hangar doors" look at our ride into space. The event was titled "Your Flight DNA" and offered customers and their guests and unprecedented look at the composites fabrication, testing, and assembly processes and teams as well as the rocket engine team, the operations team, the medical team, and the pilots.
We left feeling like not only did we now know all the people who would be taking us into space next year, but that we liked them and trusted them. I know in speaking to many of the future astronauts they were delighted to get introduced to so many of the people on the team through their presentations and to learn not only their jobs but also their hobbies, histories and hearts.
My personal favorite was the presentation on the work, the love and the thought that has gone into designing the seats. Countless sketches, prototypes and tests have gone into making something that is simple, safe, elegant and functional first and easy to fabricate second.
The Virgin Galactic team did an amazing and inspiring job of sharing their progress with us and it left all of us so glad to be a part of this effort.
Over the years the Future Astronauts have gotten to know each other and many of us even feel like family. This time I met families who were going together, childhood friends, and even a young woman who has summited Everest. It is an inspiring group of people to be a part of. I was touched to meet so many new people joining us who all shared the same passion- to fulfill a long held dream of going into space and to give back as much as possible to our home planet while we are at it.
In fact that is what Sir Richard Branson said in his speech so well, "Our mission for Virgin Galactic is and has always been quite simple: to transform access to space for the benefit of life on Earth."
With so much at stake I can't help but be thrilled with the progress. As I heard on Oprah radio a few days ago, "deep joy is where the world's deep need and your passion meet." Maybe that is why I was grinning like a school girl.