Entrepreneur Richard Branson is going to meet his Virgin Galactic space team in Mojave Desert in California on Saturday after a passenger spaceship, developed by his company, crashed claiming life of the pilot and seriously injuring others.
Despite the unfortunate incident, the prominent entrepreneur pledged to continue his drive for space expeditions.
“Space is hard – but worth it. We will persevere and move forward together,” Branson posted on his company’s web site:
The suborbital vehicle, which was conducting its first powered test flight since January over the Mojave (about 95 miles north of Los Angeles), crashed on Friday, killing one pilot while injuring others.
Experts are considering the unfortunate incident as a major blow to the fledgling commercial space launch sector as the Friday’s crash is the second consecutive disaster in less than a week which is suffered by a private space company.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Orbital Sciences Corp’s built Antares rocket, which was bound for the International Space Station (ISS), exploded soon after its blast off from Virginia’s Wallops Island.
According to Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, body of one of the pilots in the Virgin crash was found in the wreckage, while the another pilot survived with serious injuries after he was ejected and parachuted to the ground safely.
Youngblood said that the survivor was found lying over a mile from the main wreckage of SpaceShipTwo, close to the Mojave Air and Space Port.
Grieving the unfortunate incident, the US space agency NASA in a released statement said, “While not a NASA mission, the pain of this (new) tragedy will be felt by all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploration.”
The back-to-back incidents of Virgin and Antares accidents are being seen as a major impediment for the commercial space launch industry.