One of the most respected members of NASA’s space shuttle program has joined Virgin Galactic as the commercial space company’s Vice President of Operations. Mike Moses, NASA’s former Space Shuttle Launch Integration Manager, will oversee the planning and execution of all operations at Virgin Galactic’s headquarters at Spaceport America in New Mexico. In a press release, the company said Moses will develop and lead the team responsible for Virgin Galactic spaceship operations and logistics, flight crew operations, customer training, and spaceport ground operations, with overall operational safety and risk management as the primary focus.
“I am extremely excited to be joining Virgin Galactic at this time,” Moses said, “helping to forge the foundations that will enable routine commercial suborbital spaceflights. Virgin Galactic will expand the legacy of human spaceflight beyond traditional government programs into the world’s first privately funded commercial spaceline.”
Moses talked with Irene Klotz at Reuters and said he thinks the direction NASA is taking is good, but he wants to be where the action is.
“I’m more than onboard with NASA’s plan,” Moses told Reuters. “It’s just that the operations of that system were still eight to 10 years away. I couldn’t just push paper around and write requirements for the next 10 years so I’m going to take another shot at it here in the commercial sector.”
Moses served as the Launch Integration Manager from 2008 until the landing of the final Shuttle mission in July 2011. He was responsible for supervising all Space Shuttle processing activities from landing through launch, and for reviewing major milestones including final readiness for flight.
Moses was part of the team that made regular appearances at launch briefings at Kennedy Space Center and was a media favorite for his no-nonsense, but congenial and sometimes humorous answers to questions. Along with Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach, “The Two Mikes” were responsible for providing ultimate launch decision authority during the final years of the space shuttle program.
Moses also served as chair of the Mission Management Team, making decisions for the final 12 space shuttle flights, and directly overseeing the safe and successful flights of 75 astronauts.
“Bringing Mike in to lead the team represents a significant investment in our commitment to operational safety and success as we prepare to launch commercial operations,” said Virgin Galactic President and CEO George Whitesides. “His experience and track record in all facets of spaceflight operations are truly unique. His forward-thinking perspective to bring the hard-won lessons of human spaceflight into our operations will benefit us tremendously.”
Prior to his most recent NASA role, Moses served as a Flight Director at the NASA Johnson Space Center where he led teams of flight controllers in the planning, training and execution of all aspects of space shuttle missions. Before being selected as a Flight Director in 2005, Moses had over 10 years experience as a flight controller in the Shuttle Propulsion and Electrical Systems Groups.