Test Gods: Virgin Galactic and the Making of a Modern Astronaut
In the spirit of The Right Stuff, updated for the 21st century, Test Gods is an epic story about extreme bravery and sacrifice, about the thin line between lunacy and genius. Most of all, it is a story about the pursuit of meaning in our lives—and the fulfillment of our dreams.
Working from exclusive inside reporting, New Yorker writer Nicholas Schmidle tells the remarkable story of the test pilots, engineers, and visionaries behind Virgin Galactic’s campaign to build a space tourism company. Schmidle follows a handful of characters—Mark Stucky, Virgin’s lead test pilot; Richard Branson, the eccentric billionaire funding the venture; Mike Moses, the grounded, unflappable president; Mike Alsbury, the test pilot killed in a fatal crash; and others—through personal and professional dramas, in pursuit of their collective goal: to make space tourism a reality.
Along the way, Schmidle weaves his relationship with his father—a former fighter pilot and decorated war hero—into the tragedies and triumphs that Branson’s team confronts out in the Mojave desert as they design, build, and test-fly their private rocket ship. Gripping and novelistic, Test Gods leads us, through human drama, into a previously unseen world—and beyond.
About the Author
Writer and Contributor for The New Yorker; Author, Test Gods: Virgin Galactic and the Making of a Modern Astronaut