The Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo was expected to start taking regular people into space in the very near future prior to the crash. It would cost passengers $250,000 to take the voyage into zero gravity.
The unfortunate news in which one person was killed and another seriously injured puts a delay in Sir Richard Branson’s plans to travel in the spacecraft himself, along with several family members, including his kids. The revolutionary Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo has been in development since 2008, when test launches in California began at Mojave Spaceport.
However, setbacks have delayed the main voyage, which had attracted so much attention that several celebrities — including the likes of Justin Bieber — had signed on to take that unique trip. Branson decided to enter into the space flight business, because as he stated: “Why not?”
So now what? The crash of the crash of Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo is a set back for commercial space travel, an area that has been a dream of many, but nobody has had the means or the will to build and make a reality for those willing to take the trip. Even though the spacecraft bears the name Virgin, it has been paid for by citizens of New Mexico, who voted and approved a sales tax to help pay for the ambitious project.
In 2013 Wired magazine published an interview in which former U.S. Air Force official Christine Anderson — who is in charge of developing Spaceport America — explained what Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo means for space travel.
“This is the beginning of the commercial passenger space-line industry,” she said. At the time, Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo had plans to begin regular service, which included launching daily flights into space — for the beginning of 2014. There were also plans for daily suborbital passenger flights followed by point-to-point intercontinental travel in which passengers could travel around the world in about two hours.
Trips out of the Earth’s atmosphere were expected to be a routine like taking a bus. At the time, Sir Richard Branson said, “I hope it’s the beginning of a whole new era in space travel.”
In the ’80s, Branson was approached by the then USSR’s ambassador in London, telling him that Mikhail Gorbachev had a proposition for him. When he spoke to the Soviet leader he was asked, “how would he like to become the first tourist in space?” An idea was born and following a 1995 conversation with astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the magnate began seriously considering space travel.
Sir Charles Branson was really looking forward to getting on board that Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo for the first time and he must be very disappointed today. Not only did his vehicle crash, but he will have to start inspiring people all over again.
The sad news is that there was only one version of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo being tested in the Mojave Desert before Friday’s crash and so this particular spacecraft is history. However, the plan is to add multiple vehicles to a fleet, but that has now all been put on hold.
Even though many believe space travel is frivolous and a waste of money, Branson thinks that much good can come out of leaving planet Earth.
“We can send enormous quantities of people into space who come back determined to make a difference.”
The crash of Virgin Galactic SpaceShip Two on Friday is a big set back in the future of space travel and all mourn the tragic death. However, if anyone can recover and succeed, it is someone like Sir Richard Branson, who posted a message on his Twitter account Friday afternoon.
Thoughts with all @virgingalactic & Scaled, thanks for all your messages of support. I’m flying to Mojave immediately to be with the team.
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) October 31, 2014
Follow all the latest news regarding the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crash at the Inquisitr.
[image via Virgin Galctic/Twitter]