When Richard Branson founded Virgin Galactic in 2004, the goal was simple: to offer civilian space travel by the end of the decade. Fifteen years, a dozen delays and one catastrophic rocket crash later, we are on the verge of space tourism becoming a reality. New Yorker writer Nicholas Schmidle has witnessed the fall and rise of Virgin Galactic first-hand. Over the last five years, he has spent thousands of hours at Virgin’s ‘spaceport’ in the Mojave desert, befriending the pilots who are risking their lives to make space tourism a reality.
On May 19, Schmidle comes to Intelligence Squared to tell the remarkable story of the test pilots, engineers, and visionaries behind Virgin Galactic’s campaign to build a space tourism company. He has followed a handful of characters – Mark Stucky, Virgin’s lead test pilot; Richard Branson, the eccentric billionaire funding the venture; Mike Moses, the grounded, unflappable president; Mike Alsbury, the test pilot killed in a fatal crash; and others – through personal and professional dramas, in pursuit of their collective goal: to make space tourism a reality.
In this special online event, he will lead us through the human drama of a previously unseen world – and beyond.
Book bundles include one ticket for the online debate, plus a copy of Nicholas Schmidle’s book Test Gods: Tragedy and Triumph in the New Space Race with free UK P&P. Books will be posted within 1-2 weeks of the event finishing. Click here to purchase a book bundle.
Test Gods: Tragedy and Triumph in the New Space Race by Nicholas Schmidle is available to buy from Primrose Hill Books, for £16.50 including free UK P&P.
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Speakers are subject to change.