Virgin Galactic has appointed two new pilots into its Pilot Corps, bringing the total number of pilots to eight. Jameel Janjua and Patrick Moran will be based at Spaceport America, New Mexico, and join the Virgin Galactic team as preparations for commercial service continue.
Both will embark on an extensive training program before flying SpaceShipTwo. In addition to the spaceship, the pilots will also train to fly the carrier aircraft, VMS Eve. VMS Eve provides a way for the pilots to fly simulated parts of the SpaceShipTwo flight trajectory, gaining valuable hands-on training. Other assignments for the pilots will include flying other company support aircraft, working mission control, flight planning, and support for various detailed engineering and project roles across the company.
While Janjua and Moran will initially operate in a test-pilot capacity, they, along with the rest of the Pilot Corps, will ultimately become the world’s first commercial spaceship pilots, flying future astronauts on their life-changing journey into space and back. Each of them has flown in both military and commercial roles, involving training, operations and testing, as well as flying passengers and managing crew.