Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides is a Founder Astronaut at Virgin Galactic, mother of two, and wife to George T. Whitesides. She is the author of The New Right Stuff: Using Space to Bring Out the Best in You and the founder of SpaceKind training. Loretta studied astrobiology at Stanford and Caltech, did research on plant life in the Canadian Arctic with NASA, dove to the bottom of the ocean with Titanic Director James Cameron, and has floated weightless hundreds of times as a Flight Director for Zero Gravity Corporation.
She and husband George, former CEO of Virgin Galactic, are the co-creators of Yuri’s Night and are responsible for championing the annual Worldwide Space Party, celebrating the dual space anniversaries on April 12 of Yuri Gagarin’s first flight in 1961 and the inaugural launch of the Space Shuttle program in 1981.
Half Cuban and half El Salvadorian, Loretta Whitesides currently teaches leadership and personal development for the space community through her SpaceKind Training Program, which evolved from the New Right Stuff training program she led at Virgin Galactic for five years. Whitesides’ second book is scheduled for 2023 release.