Virgin Galactic pilot and astronaut to attend STEMFest in Space event

Dave Mackay - STEMFest in Space

The Chief Pilot of Virgin Galactic, Dave Mackay, is the latest speaker to be announced at this year’s eagerly anticipated STEMFest in Space event.

Mr Mackay, a three-time commercial astronaut with Virgin Galactic, joins a long list of high profile speakers already confirmed to speak at the one-day event on Thursday, 7 October.

The free virtual event, which will run from 9.30am – 7pm, is being organised by the North East STEM hub, run by RTC North and will explore the many wonders of space and the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) learning.

Dave Mackay will broadcast live from New Mexico to talk to young people about his experience of space and his role as chief pilot at Virgin Galactic. He joined the company in 2009 and leads the Virgin Galactic pilot corps.

He was one of two pilots on the Unity 22 test flight which launched on 11 July 2021 and flew founder Richard Branson and three other mission specialists to see first-hand the extraordinary experience Virgin Galactic is creating for future astronauts.

Originally from the Scottish Highlands, Dave has over 40 years’ experience as a pilot and has flown Virgin Galactic’s spaceship, VSS Unity into space three times.

Dave joins a list of profile speakers including NASA’s Sarah Murray, Dr Andy Aldrin, President & CEO of the Aldrin Family Foundation and son of the famous astronaut Edwin Eugene (Buzz) Aldrin and Josh Bernstein, explorer, educator and storyteller from Project Ianos.

The event will be hosted by TV presenter and stage actor, Dallas Campbell and combines classroom and hands-on learning in an exciting, fun packed day. It will be delivered online to reach a wider audience and young people will be able to learn from the comfort of their own classroom and interact with STEM Ambassadors who work or support the international space industry. It is also a perfect opportunity for the young people to consider a career within the space sector.

Event organiser, Claire Willis, STEM Business Development Manager at RTC North, said: “This is wonderful news – we are really excited to welcome Dave as a keynote speaker at this year’s STEMFest in Space event.

“We have organised a really exciting programme of presentations, discussions and activities that will appeal and engage young people and adults of all ages.

“Anyone interested in STEM or Space then this is the event for you! The response so far has been amazing and we have already received hundreds of registrations from schools, colleges and community groups right across the UK and worldwide.”

STEMFest in Space will be delivered as part of World Space Week (4-10 October) and any schools or colleges interested in signing up can do so via the Eventbrite website.

You must pre-register for this event. Tickets are free and can be booked via the Eventbrite website here

To find out more about STEMFest in Space, you can visit their website at

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