Credit: Virgin Galactic


Virgin Galactic has introduced two new pilots into its “Pilot Corps” as the company moves ahead on commercial suborbital flight services from Spaceport America, New Mexico.

Jameel Janjua and Patrick Moran are joining the team, bringing the total number of rocket ship pilots to eight.

Both will embark on an extensive training program before flying SpaceShipTwo.

White Knight carrier craft carries SpaceShipTwo aloft for high-altitude release. Commercial suborbital flight operations are expected soon.
Credit: Virgin Galactic

Pilot qualifications, assignments

According to a posting from Virgin, in addition to the spaceship, the pilots will also train to fly the carrier aircraft, VMS Eve.

VMS Eve serves as both a launch platform and allows the pilots to fly simulated parts of the SpaceShipTwo flight trajectory.

Other assignments for the pilots include flying other company support aircraft, working mission control, flight planning, and embedding into various detailed engineering and project roles across the company, the Virgin statement explains.

Tarmac touchdown for third powered flight of SpaceShipTwo, Unity.
Credit: Virgin Galactic

To become a Virgin Galactic pilot, both Janjua and Moran has flown for the U.S. military in training and operational roles as well as a number of commercial roles, accumulating thousands of hours each in different aircraft.

The new pilot picks follow a recent and successful hotfire test earlier this month at Virgin Galactic’s rocket motor testing facility.

According to the Virgin statement, the next time the team ignite a rocket motor, it will be to power SpaceShipTwo Unity to space in the skies above Spaceport America.

To view the recent hotfire test, go to:

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