Virgin Galactic Hires First Pilot

Mojave-based Virgin Galactic, the commercial spaceflight operation being launched by Richard Branson, said today it has hired its first, official pilot for its commercial operations. The firm said it interviewed more than 500 applicants to find the first astronaut pilot to join its flight team, tapping former USAF test pilot Keith Colmer to the position. The hire comes just a week after an unveiling of Virgin Galactic's new commercial spaceport operation in New Mexico last week. Colmer joins the firm in Mojave, California, where he will be working with Scaled Composite's own test pilots to help with test flights of the WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo vehicles the companies are developing. Virgin Galactic said that Colmer has over 12 years of experience in experimental aircraft test flights, with 5000 hours in over 90 different types of aircraft.