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Video Length: 15 minutes
Editor’s Note: Following her presentation to the Air Command and Staff College as part of Gathering of Eagles, a week of events celebrating air power history, OTH sat down with Kelly Latimer for a short interview. In this video Kelly, a retired Air Force Lt Col, discusses her work as a test pilot at Virgin Galactic and her perspective on the future of space, with a focus on the advantages of using a Boeing 747 as a launch vehicle for satellites.
Referenced during the interview:
The views expressed are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Air Force or the U.S. Government.
Kelly Latimer is the lead test pilot for the LauncherOne program where she flies the 747 named CosmicGirl, designed to launch a rocket into space to enable the market for civilian small satellites. Kelly served in the Air Force as a T-38 Instructor Pilot and later as a C-17 and C-141 Test Pilot. She commanded the 418th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base in California. She deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq, first as a pilot and later as a pilot instructor. After she retired from military service, Kelly became the first female test pilot for NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center flying on the SOFIA project (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy). She later moved on to Boeing as a test pilot for the KC-767, P-8, B-787, B-737, KC-46, and Chief Test Pilot for the C-17. Currently she works for Virgin Galactic.