November 7, 2014
Image above: SpaceShipTwo wreck crashed to the ground in the Californian desert. Image Credits: Reuters / David McNew.
The company of British billionaire Richard Branson hopes to return within six months of test flights, a week after the fatal crash of SpaceShipTwo in the desert.
"It is possible that test flights for the next spacecraft begin within six months before the survey (on accident) does not lead," the company said in an e-mail to AFP. Virgin Galactic is referring here to the investigation by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation on transport accidents (NTSB) after the accident northeast of Los Angeles last week.
Image Above: The NTSB investigators, the US federal agency responsible for investigating accidents in transport, believe that there was a problem with the release of fins on the tail of the shuttle. Image Credits: Keystone / AP.
The SpaceShipTwo spacecraft crashed during a test flight after being separated from its launch aircraft WhiteKnightTwo. The accident resulted in the death of the co-pilot, Michael Alsbury, and seriously injured his pilot, Pete Siebold, while causing questions on the space tourism industry. "The NTSB has informed us that we were free to continue our operations during the investigation. We are thinking about it," says Virgin Galactics.
The new flight test mentioned by the company could be undertaken with a new ship SpaceShipTwo, the company said Tuesday that it was built to "65%". While recognizing that the accident was a "terrible setback" Richard Branson has made it clear he wanted to continue his plan to create the first commercial space transportation line.
Image above: Richard Branson on Tuesday announced the continuation of mounting a second vessel despite the accident that resulted in the destruction of the First Friday and the death of a pilot in the California desert. Image Credits: AFP / Josh Edelson.
The company already has more than 600 customers for future voyages to the edge of space, with a ticket price of 250,000 dollars per person, including celebrities such as actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Virgin Galactic, however, that a "small percentage" of customers had backtracked.
"This small percentage (clients) who requested a refund are great supporters of the project" and their decision is "personal reasons," says the company.
For more information about Virgin Galactic, visit: http://www.virgingalactic.com
Images (Mentioned), Text, Credits: AFP / Translation: Orbiter.ch Aerospace.