Skip to main content

‘Space is hard, but worth it’ says Virgin founder Richard Branson

space hard worth says virgin founder richard branson
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group that includes Virgin Galactic, has been speaking to the press after his company’s SpaceShipTwo craft crashed in the Mojave desert, killing one of the pilots and seriously injuring the other. “Space is hard, but worth it,” he wrote in a post published after the tragedy on his official company blog.

“Everyone at Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company and Scaled Composites is deeply saddened by today’s events,” continued the post. “All our thoughts are with the families of everyone affected by this tragic event, and we are doing everything we can to support them.”

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is taking the lead in investigating the cause of the crash — Branson said he was unable to comment on why SpaceShipTwo went down but confirmed his company would be cooperating fully with the NTSB. The fateful flight was the first test of a new, higher performance rocket fuel for the spacecraft.

“We are determined to find out what went wrong, and are working with the authorities to get that information,” Branson told the assembled media in a press conference earlier today, commending the bravery of Virgin Galactic’s own test pilots and others in the same profession around the world. “We are determined to honor the bravery of the pilots and of the team here by learning from this tragedy.”

“We’ve always known that commercial space travel is an incredibly hard project,” said Branson. “We’ve been undertaking a comprehensive testing program for many years and safety has always been our number one priority. This is the biggest test program ever carried out in aviation history, precisely to ensure that this never happens to the public.”

Branson said that Virgin Galactic will continue in its quest to make space tourism a reality, provided the right lessons can be learned from yesterday’s incident. He also said that he didn’t expect many of the guests who have pre-booked a $250,000 space flight to back out, but that anyone who requested a refund would be given one.

[Image via NBC/Virgin Galactic]

Editors' Recommendations

David Nield
Dave is a freelance journalist from Manchester in the north-west of England. He's been writing about technology since the…
Virgin Galactic shares footage of final space tourism flight test
Virgin Galactic's space plane heading to the edge of space.

Virgin Galactic has successfully completed what should be its final test flight before launching commercial services for its sub-orbital rocket flights next month.

Thursday's mission was the second fully crewed test flight following the first one in 2021 when Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson flew with five others to the edge of space in the rocket-powered VSS Unity aircraft.

Read more
Virgin Galactic sets date for first fully crewed rocket trip since 2021
virgin galactic sets date for final test of rocket plane vss unity flight

Space tourism company Virgin Galactic is just days away from what should be its final fully crewed test flight before a commercial launch this summer.

The team has announced that it’s currently targeting Thursday, May 25, for a mission that will see four crewmembers blasted to the edge of space aboard the rocket-powered VSS Unity plane.

Read more
Virgin Galactic announces first fully crewed flight since 2021
Virgin Galactic's space plane heading to the edge of space.

Space tourism company Virgin Galactic has announced plans for another test flight ahead of its first commercial mission this summer.

The test flight using its rocket-powered space plane will take place in “late May” and will be the company’s second fully crewed trip since Virgin founder Richard Branson and others tested the hardware in a successful flight in July 2021.

Read more