Will Whitehorn, former public affairs supremo at Virgin Group and erstwhile head of Virgin Galactic, is to head the Technology Strategy Board’s new venture, Transport Systems Catapult.
As chairman of the ‘Catapult,’ a technology and innovation centre being set up by the Technology Strategy Board, Whitehorn will focus on innovation for efficient and sustainable ways to move people and freight.
Says Universities and Science Minister David Willetts, ‘An efficient transport system that can move people and goods in a cost effective way is vital to the success of the UK economy. The Transport Systems Catapult will make sure that new and emerging technology systems across road, rail, sea and air can be tested and demonstrated, helping to create a world class transport network.
‘Will Whitehorn is a real expert in the transport field, with years of experience and a vast amount of knowledge. He will be able to take forward the development of the Catapult.’
A former helicopter pilot, Will Whitehorn joined Virgin in 1987.
Encouraged by the success of Virgin Trains, Whitehorn had been organising the Bransonian space bid, Virgin Galactic. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy and Aberdeen University. As President of Virgin Galactic he pioneered the development of commercial spaceflight. Virgin plans to provide sub-orbital spaceflights for tourists as well as satellite deployment and space science services.