Virgin Galactic appoints Chief Operating Officer

President of The Spaceship Company tapped for dual role

  • The Spaceship Company President takes on dual executive roles
  • “Weight on Wheels” for second space vehicle
Virgin Galactic COO, Enrico Palermo

Virgin Galactic has named Enrico Palermo as the aerospace company’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), effective immediately. In this newly created role, Palermo will be responsible for helping maintain efficiency and peak performance across the enterprise as it develops as a public company, and will lead the execution of specific company strategies and initiatives.

Palermo currently serves as President of The Spaceship Company (TSC), the wholly owned aerospace manufacturing and development subsidiary of Virgin Galactic. In this capacity, he oversees 500 employees at the company’s facilities in Mojave, California. He joined Virgin Galactic in 2006 as one of its first employees. The COO title for Virgin Galactic will see Palermo maintain his capacity of TSC President.

Commenting on the appointment, George Whitesides, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Galactic, said:

“Enrico is perfectly suited to become our first Chief Operating Officer. His deep knowledge of the organisation, built over 13 years with the company, enables him to hit the ground running on enterprise-wide goals. Over the years, Enrico has shown dedication to Virgin Galactic’s mission and has been an inseparable part of our success. On behalf of our Board, I am delighted to welcome Enrico as our new COO.”

Palermo said he was honoured to accept the added responsibilities, saying he is “truly inspired by what we have achieved so far. Taking on this new position at an exciting point in the company’s history is incredibly important to me and I look forward to making human spaceflight more accessible to all.”

VSS Unity alongside the second Virgin Galactic space vehicle

His appointment follows another recent major build milestone for Virgin Galactic, achieving the “Weight on Wheels” stage for the second space vehicle, currently under construction in Mojave. Reaching this point means that all major structural elements were assembled, including the main landing gear, and the spacecraft carried its own weight for the first time.

Whitesides said the Weight on Wheels milestone was achieved considerably faster than that of VSS Unity.

“We now have two spaceships that are structurally complete, with our third making good progress. These spaceships are destined to provide thousands of private astronauts with a truly transformative experience by performing regular trips to space,” Whitesides added.

Photo credit: Virgin Galactic

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