Beth Moses is an aerospace engineer, formerly with NASA and now with Virgin Galactic. At NASA, Ms. Moses served as the assembly manager for the International Space Station from initial design through final on-orbit construction. After the completion of ISS assembly, she was selected as the inaugural Chief Astronaut Trainer at Virgin Galactic. She is now designing and building the training program, equipment, and facilities at Spaceport America to prepare future astronauts for spaceflight on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. We met Mrs. Moses at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna and talked about the future of space flight and how Virgin Galactic helps startups.
There is more private investments in space industry than ever in the history of space exploration. Peter Diamandis says that space is a very high cost industry to dive into. Moses thinks that making space available for goods and people to fly is the key factor for cost to go down.
"Opening space to the public and further advancement of humans into the solar system should happen in the near future."
What is the role of governments in space?
"Governments will always play a key role, especially in R&D and incubation of private efforts. I think going forward the governments of the Earth will find an increasing need to collaborate with one another in order to put large scale human spaceflight architectures into the field. International collaboration in things like Lunar complexes or Mars research will become crucial."
How Virgin Galatic works with startups?
"Virgin Orbit is developing a launcher capability to launch sats into orbit it will lower the cost of access to LOE for sats. Certainly some of the potential customers of Virgin Orbit are startups working on imagery satellites or other small scale satellites."
Private Space Flights
Virgin Galactic is said to resume powered tests of its spaceplane after a tragic accident with its test vehicle SpaceShipTwo resulted in the death of co-pilot Michael Alsbury in 2014. First paying customers could be on board a Virgin Galactic flight already in 2018. Mrs.Moses invites everyone interested in space exploration to sign up for a flight.