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Wednesday 19 May 2021

Virgin Galactic and the Making of a Modern Astronaut, with Nicholas Schmidle (online)

Science &
Technology

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 (UK ONLY)

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.

If you are already a subscriber please log in to purchase the discounted book.

Click the book jacket below to purchase the book.

Event Name

Virgin Galactic and the Making of a Modern Astronaut, with Nicholas Schmidle (online)


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Online Event

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Speaker
  • Nicholas Schmidle

    Staff writer for the New Yorker and author of To Live or To Perish Forever: Two Tumultuous Years in Pakistan

 

Speakers are subject to change.

Chair
  • Helen Czerski

    One of the UK’s most popular science presenters


Location
  • Online event
Time
  • Wednesday 19 May 2021
  • 6pm to 7pm BST



Speakers

Speaker

Nicholas Schmidle

Staff writer for the New Yorker and author of To Live or To Perish Forever: Two Tumultuous Years in Pakistan


Staff writer for the New Yorker and author of To Live or To Perish Forever: Two Tumultuous Years in Pakistan. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Atlantic, Slate, Washington Post, and many others. Schmidle has been a National Magazine Award finalist, a two-time Livingston Award finalist, and winner of a Kurt Schork Award. He is a former fellow at the Institute of Current World Affairs, the New America Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and was resident at the Rockefeller's Foundation's Bellagio Center. In 2017, Schmidle was a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University. He is the author of the new book Test Gods: Virgin Galactic and the Making of a Modern Astronaut.

 

Speakers are subject to change.

Chair

Helen Czerski

One of the UK’s most popular science presenters


British oceanographer, physicist and television presenter. Her many programmes for radio and TV include Radio 4’s Inside Science, Orbit: Earth’s Extraordinary Journey, numerous Horizon documentaries, The Sky at Night, and Dara O Briain’s Science Club. She is a Research Fellow at University College London, and holds a PhD in experimental explosives physics. She is the author of Storm In A Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life. She gave the 2020 Royal Institution's annual Christmas lecture on the workings of the world's oceans and how they serve as the heart of our planetary life support system.