Virgin Galactic flight test director Mark Stucky leaves company

Mark "Forger" Stucky, Virgin Galactic's flight test director and pilot, is now not with the house tourism company.

"I am now a former Director of Flight Test and former SpaceShipTwo pilot," Stucky wrote in a submit on LinkedIn.

He added in a touch upon LinkedIn that he didn’t depart the house tourism company "on my own timeline."

Virgin Galactic confirmed to CNBC that Stucky "is no longer employed," however didn’t clarify additional.

"We thank him for his 12 years of service on the flight test program," a Virgin Galactic spokesperson mentioned in an announcement.

Stucky helped develop Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo system, serving first because the engineering test pilot for Scaled Composites — which constructed the spacecraft for Virgin Galactic — earlier than spending the final six years as Virgin Galactic's lead test pilot and director of flight testing.

Virgin Galactic's First Spaceflight on Dec. 13, 2018Source: Virgin Galactic

He piloted Virgin Galactic's first test flight that reached house, launched Dec. 13, 2018. The Federal Aviation Administration awarded Stucky – the 568th particular person to fly to house – the "Commercial Astronaut Wings," an honor the U.S. has given to those that cross the 80-kilometer boundary that the federal government acknowledges as house.

In addition to main Virgin Galactic's first spaceflight test, Stucky as additionally the pilot commanding the primary glide flight and first rocket-powered flight of SpaceShipTwo spacecraft VSS Unity.

Stucky has flown greater than 170 several types of plane all through his profession, which additionally included the U.S. Marines, NASA and the U.S. Air Force.

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Virgin Galactic has seven pilots on employees to fly VSS Unity and the service plane VMS Eve. The company most not too long ago added two pilots to that corps in October 2020, when it employed Royal Canadian Air Force pilot Jameel Janjua and U.S Marine Corps pilot Patrick Moran.

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