George T. Whitesides official portrait

George Whitesides.

George Thomas Whitesides is CEO and President of Virgin Galactic,[1] a firm developing commercial space vehicles. 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.


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.

George 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 Fulbright Scholar in Tunisia.


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