WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Virgin Galactic is pleased to announce the appointment of former NASA, White House and Department of Energy official Steven J. Isakowitz as Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer.
In his role, Isakowitz will have leadership responsibilities across a range of areas as the company prepares to begin commercial operation of its space vehicles. Specifically, he will lead technical oversight of key programs, development and management of new programs, government and industry business development, government affairs, advanced technologies, and strategic analysis.
Isakowitz has previously held a wide variety of engineering, business, and management roles across the technology and government sectors. He served in several senior positions at NASA, where he received NASA's Outstanding Leadership Medal, including the role of Deputy Associate Administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. At NASA, Isakowitz was responsible for helping to set overall priorities, guiding the development of new technologies and systems, and promoting innovative approaches such as prizes and commercial space transportation. The author of the well-known International Reference Guide to Space Launch Systems, Isakowitz earned bachelors' and masters' degrees in aerospace engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Most recently, Isakowitz served as Chief Financial Officer of the U.S. Department of Energy through two presidential administrations, where he was responsible for determining priorities and identifying high-payoff technologies in the department's $26 billion annual budget. Previously, he served as Branch Chief of Science and Space Programs at the White House Office of Management and Budget, as an aerospace engineer and project manager for space launch vehicles at Lockheed Martin (formerly Martin Marietta), and as a senior consultant in the commercial space division of consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.
Welcoming Isakowitz, Virgin Galactic CEO and President, George Whitesides, said: "Steve brings extensive experience in the areas of aerospace engineering, management, and business strategy, and will be a strong asset. Steve's joining the company is a testament to Galactic's leading position in the commercial space industry, and its potential for future growth."
Isakowitz said, "It is a deep honor and privilege to be appointed to this position. I could not be more excited about the opportunities and possibilities that lie ahead as Virgin Galactic moves toward commercial operations. I'm looking forward to drawing on the aerospace sector experience I have gained over the past three decades to help make Virgin Galactic a breakthrough company as it opens up the commercial space frontier."
Virgin Galactic is on track to be the world's first commercial spaceline. The first new spaceship (SpaceShipTwo, VSS Enterprise) and carrier aircraft (WhiteKnightTwo, VMS Eve) have both been developed for Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic by Mojave-based Scaled Composites. Founded by Burt Rutan, Scaled developed SpaceShipOne, which in 2004 claimed the $10m Ansari X Prize as the world's first privately developed manned spacecraft. While Virgin Galactic's new vehicles share much of the same basic design, they are being built to carry six customers on sub-orbital space flights, allowing an out-of-the-seat weightless experience and offering astounding views of the planet and the black sky of space. The VSS Enterprise and VMS Eve test flight program is well under way, leading to Virgin Galactic starting commercial operations at Spaceport America in New Mexico.
For Virgin Galactic general program information and images:
Press FTP: www.virgingalactic.com/extranet
SOURCE Virgin Galactic