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On Mar. 15, 1493, Christopher Columbus returned to Spain after his first visit to the Western Hemisphere. In his honor, there is one country, a few provinces and counties, and more than 200 cities and towns named after him. I just checked his score on Klout.com. I guess they don’t assign scores to dead people. Oh well…
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Scot set to be chief test pilot for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceliner
David MacKay with Neil Armstrong
THIS is the moment the first man on the moon met the Scot who is all set to be the worlds first commercial astronaut.
Scots test pilot David Mackay, from Sutherland, said it was a dream come true to meet legendary astronaut Neil Armstrong – and hopes to join him in the ranks of space hero Scots.
The icon, who stepped onto the moon in 1969, is famously proud of his Scots heritage and was welcomed as a hero when he visited the Armstrong family seat in the Borders three years after his space flight.
And now former RAF flier turned airline test pilot Mackay, 54, is set to join the ranks of astronauts as the chief test pilot for Richard Bransons spaceliner Virgin Galactic.
The men met at a special conference on the future of space flight in California, where Mackay is based, and he said it was a great honour to meet his fellow space Scot.
It was a great honour to meet him – Neil Armstrong was one of my boyhood heroes and he was a very likeable and friendly chap.
It was all very quick but Id love to get the chance to talk to him more, and now that we have made contact hopefully we could have the chance to catch up again.
Im a great believer in learning lessons and his experience is tremendous.
He is a very bright man, very sharp.
Its great that he has got the Scottish connection and I believe he is very proud of it.
David is leading the test flight programme at the Mojave base and hopes to head into space with the next near to 18 months as the first commercial space flight in the world.
He is working with fellow Scots astronaut Brian Binnie, from Aberdeen, who became the first Scot in space when he flew the SpaceShipOne craft into space in 2004.
Binnie and Mackay are now working to get the 125,000 ticket flights up and running as soon as possible.
On December 6, 2009 I attended our annual conference for Virgin Galactic Accredited Space Agents and met David MacKay. I even have a photo of us together, which I will post ( hopefully, if I can figure out this blogging software ). So, in MY photo David is to my left, your right if you’re looking at us. I’m tempted to Photoshop it with the photo in this article to make it look like David, Neil, and I are chatting it up a bit (did I succeed in sounding British or Scot?). Nah, I’ll settle for 6 degrees of separation and not a 360 degrees of deception. Wanna ticket to ride?