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George T. Whitesides

George Whitesides (2009)

George Thomas Whitesides is CEO of Virgin Galactic,[1] a firm developing commercial space vehicles at the Mojave Air and Space Port. He studied in Newton North High School. He was previously Chief of Staff of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a position to which he was named after serving on the NASA transition team for the incoming Obama administration.

From 2004 to 2008, Whitesides served as the Executive Director of the National Space Society.[2] He is the co-creator of Yuri's Night.[3]

He has served as Senior Advisor to Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson's space tourism company.[4]

Whitesides was the Chairman of the Reusable Launch Vehicle Working Group of COMSTAC, the advisory committee for the FAA's Commercial Space Transportation Division. He was a board member of Astronomers Without Borders and the Space Generation Foundation.

He has served as a coach for Zero Gravity Corporation's parabolic flight service.

Early life and educationEdit

George Whitesides attended Princeton University, graduating from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He served for four years on Princeton's Board of Trustees upon graduation. He has an MPhil in Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing from King's College, Cambridge. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Tunisia.

Personal lifeEdit

George is married to Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides,[5] and they plan to be the first couple to honeymoon in space.[6] His father is George M. Whitesides, a professor of chemistry at Harvard University. His brother is the lead singer of The Joggers, a Portland, Oregon-based band.


  1. ^ "Virgin Galactic Snags NASA Chief of Staff as CEO". May 17, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
  2. ^ "George Whitesides". National Space Society. May 16, 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-04.
  3. ^ Hidalgo-Whitesides, Loretta; Whitesides, G. "About : what is yuri's night?". Yuri's Night. Retrieved 2007-02-04.
  4. ^ Galactic, Virgin (21 June 2007). "Virgin Galactic Appoints George Whitesides as Senior Advisor". NASASpaceflight. Retrieved 2008-03-22.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Hanlon, Michael (27 July 2005). "Virgin to offer first space holidays". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2007-02-04.[dead link]
  6. ^ "Space Love". 14 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-16.