SPACEPORT AMERICA — With the addition of two new pilots, commercial spaceliner Virgin Galactic brought its corps of pilots based at New Mexico’s Spaceport America to eight.
On Tuesday, the company announced that Royal Canadian Air Force pilot Jameel Janjua and U.S. Marine Corps pilot Patrick Moran had joined the company and would be trained to fly both the spacecraft VSS Unity and the VMS Eve carrier aircraft, which together comprise Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo.
The two were selected, according to the company’s announcement, based on their experience as pilots for both the military and commercial sectors.
Janjua flew with the RCAF for 20 years and completed a course of study with the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, and was a finalist for an astronaut position at the Canadian Space Agency.
Moran was a pilot for 20 years in the Marines and a test pilot school instructor, and according to Virgin Galactic he was the lead test pilot for Navy and Marine versions of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter before entering business aviation.