|By PR Newswire||
|February 26, 2013 04:29 PM EST||
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- All things considered, it's not surprising that George Whitesides is president and CEO of Virgin Galactic. Earlier in his career, he served as vice president of marketing for private space-tourism company Zero Gravity before becoming executive director at the National Space Society—and then NASA's chief of staff. And when Virgin Galactic was launched in 2004, Whitesides immediately contacted Virgin headquarters to tell them he wanted to buy a ticket—making him one of their first customers. Today, in addition to leading Virgin Galactic, he's also a fellow at the U.K.'s Royal Aeronautical Society and sits on the board of Virgin Unite USA. And of course, he's a licensed pilot, although he jokingly says "You wouldn't want me piloting a spaceship!"
We'll take his word for it, but at the helm of Virgin Galactic, Whitesides anticipates taking the company's first commercial passengers into space as soon as a year from now. Calling from company headquarters in the Mojave, Whitesides kindly took time to discuss various high-flying subjects, including Virgin Galactic's new partnership with XOJET.
XOJET: How did Virgin Galactic evolve?
GW: The key thing is that Richard (Branson) has always been inspired by aviation and aerospace and pushing the ball forward in space. I think the issue was that he never found the right investment to make until the X Prize flights in 2004. That's when he really saw something and thought, "This is actually something we can take and progress and turn into a real business."
XOJET: What are some of the biggest challenges in creating a commercial space venture?
GW: The biggest challenge is making sure that we build a vehicle that is as safe as can be and meets our customers' expectations in terms of experience. So we've been working for several years now, building SpaceShipTwo and its carrier aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo. We've essentially designed a system that is meant to be as fail-safe as possible. That is to say, we keep making great safety improvements that will make it the safest manned space ship ever built.
XOJET: When will the first flight happen?
GW: We've been flying both vehicles for several years now. We've had about a hundred test flights on the carrier aircraft and over 40 flights on the spaceship. Our first powered flight will be very soon, and I won't give a specific date, but our hope is to get into space approximately by the end of this year. That will be a test flight, so the first commercial space flights should come at the end of this year or at the beginning of 2014. That's what we're targeting.
XOJET: How many space aircraft do you have today, and how will your fleet grow?
GW: We essentially have one pair of vehicles—the ones we're flying now. Then we have the second pair, basically copies of the first pair, which are being produced now in Mojave. Our aspiration is to build five spaceships and a couple more carrier aircraft; we think that's a good number with which to scale up the business.
XOJET: How would you characterize Virgin Galactic astronauts?
GW: In general, these are people who have had success in their life. A lot of them are entrepreneurs; a lot of them are pilots. We have folks of all different ages and lots of women, as well as young folks and elderly—it's a pretty amazing range of people.
XOJET: What motivates them to want to go into space?
GW: The anticipation of doing something that very few people have done. They get to be part of a truly historic moment in space history, a time when if you buy a ticket, you can be one of the first people to go into space, which is amazing. Another thing is being part of that community of astronauts, which is a remarkable group of people. People find a lot of value in that, just on its own.
XOJET: What are some of the interesting events you've done for future astronauts?
GW: What we try to do is to enable our customers to meet each other and come together around bigger milestone events for our company. So, for example, one of the events we did was for the rollout for the spaceship. That was a terrific event with several governors and various other folks. We've also had trips to Richard's properties including Necker Island and the South African game reserve, Ulusaba. Through it all, what we're trying to do is share the magic of the overall experience and to build that community of folks, because it's a remarkable group of people.
XOJET: Share your thoughts about the XOJET/ Virgin Galactic Concierge Access partnership.
GW: This is something we're very excited about, and I think it's going to be extremely important as we get closer to commercial operation. XOJET is a great partner; obviously a very similar group of people use both services. So it's a win-win relationship for our customers, and whether they're flying XOJET straight to our Spaceport America in New Mexico or to other destinations, I think it's a relationship that will be increasingly beneficial as we lead up to their Virgin Galactic flight.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Arch...
Jul. 30, 2015 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,394
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducte...
Jul. 30, 2015 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 297
Providing the needed data for application development and testing is a huge headache for most organizations. The problems are often the same across companies - speed, quality, cost, and control. Provisioning data can take days or weeks, every time a refresh is required. Using dummy data leads to quality problems. Creating physical copies of large data sets and sending them to distributed teams of developers eats up expensive storage and bandwidth resources. And, all of these copies proliferating...
Jul. 30, 2015 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 886
Malicious agents are moving faster than the speed of business. Even more worrisome, most companies are relying on legacy approaches to security that are no longer capable of meeting current threats. In the modern cloud, threat diversity is rapidly expanding, necessitating more sophisticated security protocols than those used in the past or in desktop environments. Yet companies are falling for cloud security myths that were truths at one time but have evolved out of existence.
Jul. 30, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,799
Digital Transformation is the ultimate goal of cloud computing and related initiatives. The phrase is certainly not a precise one, and as subject to hand-waving and distortion as any high-falutin' terminology in the world of information technology. Yet it is an excellent choice of words to describe what enterprise IT—and by extension, organizations in general—should be working to achieve. Digital Transformation means: handling all the data types being found and created in the organizat...
Jul. 30, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,087
Public Cloud IaaS started its life in the developer and startup communities and has grown rapidly to a $20B+ industry, but it still pales in comparison to how much is spent worldwide on IT: $3.6 trillion. In fact, there are 8.6 million data centers worldwide, the reality is many small and medium sized business have server closets and colocation footprints filled with servers and storage gear. While on-premise environment virtualization may have peaked at 75%, the Public Cloud has lagged in adop...
Jul. 30, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,199
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Jul. 30, 2015 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 446
The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), which enables organizations to seamlessly run in a hybrid cloud model (public + private cloud), is here to stay. IDC estimates that the software-defined networking market will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2016. Security is a key component and benefit of the SDDC, and offers an opportunity to build security 'from the ground up' and weave it into the environment from day one. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin,...
Jul. 30, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 486
The time is ripe for high speed resilient software defined storage solutions with unlimited scalability. ISS has been working with the leading open source projects and developed a commercial high performance solution that is able to grow forever without performance limitations. In his session at Cloud Expo, Alex Gorbachev, President of Intelligent Systems Services Inc., shared foundation principles of Ceph architecture, as well as the design to deliver this storage to traditional SAN storage co...
Jul. 30, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,738
MuleSoft has announced the findings of its 2015 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the adoption and business impact of APIs. The findings suggest traditional businesses are quickly evolving into "composable enterprises" built out of hundreds of connected software services, applications and devices. Most are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and microservices technologies like Docker. A majority are integrating wearables, like smart watches, and more than half plan to generate revenue with ...
Jul. 30, 2015 02:30 PM EDT
The Cloud industry has moved from being more than just being able to provide infrastructure and management services on the Cloud. Enter a new era of Cloud computing where monetization’s services through the Cloud are an essential piece of strategy to feed your organizations bottom-line, your revenue and Profitability. In their session at 16th Cloud Expo, Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, and Ian Khan, Global Strategic Positioning & Brand Manager at Solgenia, discussed how to easily o...
Jul. 30, 2015 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 376
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Jul. 30, 2015 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 263
In their session at 17th Cloud Expo, Hal Schwartz, CEO of Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS), and Chuck Paolillo, CTO of Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS), provide a study of cloud adoption trends and the power and flexibility of IBM Power and Pureflex cloud solutions. In his role as CEO of Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS), Hal Schwartz provides leadership and direction for the company.
Jul. 30, 2015 01:30 PM EDT
Rapid innovation, changing business landscapes, and new IT demands force businesses to make changes quickly. The DevOps approach is a way to increase business agility through collaboration, communication, and integration across different teams in the IT organization. In his session at DevOps Summit, Chris Van Tuin, Chief Technologist for the Western US at Red Hat, will discuss: The acceleration of application delivery for the business with DevOps
Jul. 30, 2015 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,113
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, S...
Jul. 30, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,049