BA, Princeton University, US; MPhil, Cambridge University. Previously Chief of Staff of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a position to which he was named after serving on the NASA transition team for the incoming Obama administration. From 2004 to 2008, Whitesides served as the Executive Director of the National Space Society. . He has served as Senior Advisor to Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson's space tourism company.
Whitesides was the Chairman of the Reusable Launch Vehicle Working Group of COMSTAC, the advisory committee for the FAA's Commercial Space Transportation Division. He was a board member of Astronomers Without Borders and the Space Generation Foundation. He has served as a coach for Zero Gravity Corporation's parabolic flight service.