A former RCAF pilot has joined Virgin Galactic and will be among those flying tourists to the edge of space and back aboard the company’s rocket-powered aircraft. Jameel Janjua said he’s happy to on the leading edge of a revolution in space travel. “Helping to democratize space travel is a unique honour, and I am thrilled and humbled to be joining the Virgin Galactic Pilot Corps,”Janjua said. “With society on the cusp of opening space to all humankind, I cannot think of a more privileged role than to be a small part of the amazing team guiding people to their dreams and beyond. I am excited to join our Future Astronauts on their personal and insightful journeys and I’m looking forward to witnessing, first-hand, the variety of reactions these life-changing experiences will evoke.”
Janjua spent more than 20 years in the RCAF and has flown 45 different aircraft. He’s on the board of directors of the Society for Experimental Test Pilots. Virgin Galactic has a waiting list of more than 200 people willing to pay more than $200,000 each for a brief flight to 100 km in altitude, the defined edge of space. After a few minutes the spacecraft then reverts to an aircraft and first flutters like a badminton bird before gliding to a landing. A crash during a test flight five years ago set the program back but the company is now taking reservations and planning a test flight for later this fall.