Virgin Galactic, the New Mexico-based company preparing to fly tourists on suborbital flights, chose Kenneth Sunshine as its first chief financial officer (CFO).

Sunshine’s appointment was announced in a July 28 press release.

Sunshine was most recently CFO of MDA Information Systems, the geospatial services unit of Canada’s MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates. Prior to that he was CFO of the National Institute of Aerospace, a university research consortium that also is a strategic partner of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

SpaceShip 2, Virgin Galactic’s suborbital space plane, is undergoing flight testing in California. When it begins flying tourists, the air-launched craft will ride partway to space on the back of an airplane called WhiteKnight 2, then detach from the mother ship and blast off on a parabolic suborbital flight.

Virgin Galactic was founded by Richard Branson, also founder of the Virgin Group of companies. In 2009, Aabar Investments PJS of Abu Dhabi acquired a 32 percent stake in Virgin Galactic.