This week has had us taking some account of history while looking forward to the transitions afoot. In fact, we just ran into Barb Epstien, one of our blog subscribers and a fellow Knox College alum.
Earlier this week, on the day that we were at the California Science Center watching the title transfer from NASA to that museum for space shuttle Endeavour, Virgin Galactic announced that Mike Moses was joining their effort to make commercial human spaceflight a reality. Mike Moses is the Launch Integration Manager for the Space Shuttle Program at Kennedy Space Center. Now that there will be no more space shuttle launches to manage, he’s decided to move on. As he puts it, “I couldn’t just push paper around and write requirements for the next 10 years so I’m going to take another shot at it here in the commercial sector.”
We know why Virgin Galactic wants this guy. Heck, if we could invite him over for dinner, we’d like to hang out with him too. Mike Moses was a fixture at the pre- and post-launch press conferences we attended. He and Mike Leinbach (referred to at KSC as The Two Mikes) sat down with the press to explain each success and each delay. Moses is utterly professional, thoroughly knowledgeable, and incredibly engaging. He can talk the technical talk with the engineers, and he can compare shuttle parts to household items so the journalists who don’t usually cover aerospace can translate stories for their readers. Most importantly, Mike Moses was the guy who choked up or got teary eyed with every success.
Mike Moses was clearly thrilled to be part of the space shuttle program and proud of what he and his whole team accomplished, especially over the final launches of each remaining orbiter. When the two Mikes entered the press briefing room for the last time, we led a round of applause for them and for all the work they’d done, perhaps the first round of applause the press had enthusiastically given these two men. At the final post-launch press briefing, after Atlantis had taken to the skies, Mike Moses, knowing that he’d never again experience a day like that, concluded his opening remarks by saying, “I can’t express again how proud I am to be sitting up here after a good, successful launch today.” NASA wasn’t laying off Moses, but his job ended that day in July.
Watch the videos below to see Mike Moses answer questions posed by the Lofty Ambitions duo!