Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Space Pilot?

Published: 05-26-2020
Find out if you'll be piloting the new Virgin Galactic flights.

virgin galactic

Virgin Galactic is officially hiring for its future sub-orbital commercial flights. The spaceflight company is now taking job applications, and pilots are encouraged to apply.

But what does it take to be a space pilot?

Do You Have to Be an Astronaut?

When it comes to space travel, most people assume you have to be a trained astronaut. Since commercial spaceflights are technically just skimming the atmosphere, less rigorous training is required.

While these $250,000-per-ticket space tours are still a few years away, Virgin Galactic wants to conduct test flights. And for that, they are going to need pilots. These experiments will be conducted via two aircrafts, dubbed SpaceShipOne and WhiteKnightTwo.

Once the test flights are deemed a success, pilots hired on for the testing will be part of future space missions. According to the job description, “After the start of commercial operations, the role will change from testing and developing the spaceflight system to regularly flying spaceflight missions, and supporting customer hospitality and training.”

So the good news is that you don’t have to be a NASA-trained astronaut to fly Virgin Galactic.

Requirements Needed For Space Travel

As we mentioned above, those interested in being part of this futuristic endeavor will need to meet the requirements outlined by Virgin Galactic:

  • Be a US Person or Citizen as outlined by ITAR (22 CFR §120.15)

  • Have an FAA Commercial Pilots or equivalent

  • First Class Medical Certificate

  • Own a technical degree akin to what major airliners require to fly for them

  • Graduated from a Society of Experimental Test Pilots recognized flight school

  • Completed two and a half years of post-graduate pilot testing experience

  • Flown at least 3,000 hours

  • Took part in an aeronautical operation experience via business or personal project

  • Excellent knowledge of space or space-related subject matter

  • Able to relay aviation and safety knowledge in a keen, precise manner

  • Been a flight school instructor or held a similar position where authorizing and implementing procedures, as well as policies, was part of the role

  • Proven record of being a team player

The job posting for Virgin Galactic also states that candidates with spaceflight, commercial operations, customer service experience, and flight instructor experience will be given preference over other applicants.

To highlight the type of personality that might meet this “exceptional” level, Virgin Galactic mentioned the following traits.

  • Motivated

  • An upbeat demeanor

  • Willing to listen and take directions

  • Possess true humility

  • Self-starter

  • Handle stress well

  • Thrive in difficult scenarios

  • Persuasive

  • Confident

  • Great communication

  • Possess a high level of integrity

  • Know how to maintain confidentiality

Spaceflight missions are going to take place in SpacePort America, New Mexico, with additional tasks being conducted in Mojave, California.

So if you have what it takes, be sure to apply as soon as possible before they stop taking applications.

Recently Updated Airline Profiles