Virgin Galactic is planning to become a public company by the end of the year. Ahead of that major transition for the ambitious space travellers, CEBIT Australia will host Virgin Galactic’s Commercial Director and first employee, Stephen Attenborough, as one of their main headline speakers at their expo this year.
Virgin Galactic is hoping to acquire an injection of funds to compete with SpaceX and Blue Origin in the space race. It’s believed the company will list shares with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings, as part of a merger which will take a 49% stake in Virgin Galactic for around $US800 million ($1.2 billion).
CEBIT Australia 2019 is Asia Pacific’s largest and longest-running Business-2-Business technology exhibition and conference. Stephen will be one of 8 keynote speakers at the event which is on in Sydney from the 29th till the 31st of October.
Attenborough leads commercial activities for Virgin Galactic, part of Branson’s Virgin Group, which is still on track to become the world’s first passenger-carrying commercial space line providing suborbital spaceflights to space tourists and suborbital launches for space science missions.
Having joined Virgin Galactic following a career in investment management in London, Attenborough now speaks regularly around the world about the importance of opening access to space for the benefit of life on Earth.
“We’re thrilled to have Stephen as this year’s keynote speaker. The story of how Virgin Galactic has created a new market for space exploration in the digital age is an extraordinary one.
Stephen will be updating us on the merger plans, sharing the latest news from California, where the Virgin Galactic spacecraft is going through its final testing phase. He’ll also explain the impact new technologies have on businesses and focus on how to drive business innovation and growth through the right combination of innovative people and technology.”CEBIT Australia Chairperson, and former Facebook CEO ANZ, Stephen Scheeler
NSW Minister for Trade and Industry, Niall Blair, said given the space industry is an exciting and fast-growing tech sector, the engagement of a such a learned speaker from Virgin Galactic as part of the CEBIT line-up should attract significant interest.
“Most of Australia’s space industry is based in NSW and the NSW Government is exploring development of a Space Industry Hub for space companies, research and education institutions in Sydney that can grow companies for later relocation to the Western Sydney Aerotropolis,”
The revamped CEBIT Australia will again be held in Australia’s tech and start-up capital of Sydney and the government is backing it given its prominence as Asia Pacific’s leading business to business innovation and technology event.”NSW Minister for Trade and Industry, Niall Blair
Attenborough was invited by Branson to join Virgin Galactic as the company’s first full-time employee in 2004 to put in place the commercial foundations of the business and to create a new market for private space travel. He now leads the company’s commercial activities including partnerships for the human spaceflight business.
This work has now attracted around 700 future astronauts from 60 countries along with $80million in deposits. Attenborough has also been responsible for work-streams investigating, and now building, the non -tourism applications for the new space vehicles, particularly science research and small satellite launch.
For more information visit www.cebit.com.au.