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Virgin Galactic is a company owned and established by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group to undertake the challenge of making private space travel available to everyone and by creating the world's first commercial spaceline. The company are developing and building the world’s first fully re-useable commercial manned space launch system. The business will carry space tourists, space scientists, scientific payloads and also be capable of launching an unmanned low earth orbit small satellite deployment vehicle.

There are many firsts in the Virgin Galactic project, from the ground breaking use of carbon composites through to SpaceShipTwo’s unique hybrid rocket motor. Speaking on the eve of the second phase of Virgin Galactic’s test flying programme, Will intends to share the story of how the most exciting modern aerospace project moved from Sir Richard Branson’s dream of 21st century space access to a billion dollar industrial business.

Will Whitehorn joined Virgin Group in 1987, as head of corporate public and investor relations. From 1993 to 1995, he worked with Sir Richard Branson, and other directors from around the Virgin Group on developing a strategy to expand the brand into a number of new areas, this resulted in the launch of Virgin Radio in 1994, Virgin Direct in 1995, Virgin Cinemas in 1995, Virgin Net in 1996, Virgin Rail in 1997 and Virgin Mobile in 1999.

Will was appointed President of Virgin Galactic LLC in 2004 following the successful negotiation of the rights to develop technology in Space Ship One, licensed from the Mojave Aerospace Ventures, a Paul G Allen company. The company is now developing Space Ship Two with The Spaceship Company and Scaled Composites in Mojave, California.

He graduated from Aberdeen University in 1981 with an honours degree in history and economics.

This is the 2nd annual Leslie Chamberlain, held in memory of Leslie Chamberlain and his service to the Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers, which is committed to supporting the trade and craft industries through charitable grants. Leslie was first admitted to the Company in 1938 at the age of 21. In 1959 he became Master of the Company – one of the youngest ever masters to be appointed. He dedicated much of his life to the Company, promoting its causes, constitution and financial stability. He passed away in 2007, just before his 90th birthday.

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Added by balabanovic on January 6, 2010