Richard Branson and the rest of the Virgin space team have begun the process of picking up the pieces, attempting to understand what exactly went wrong when the SpaceShipTwo crashed in the Mojave Desert in California. The founder of Virgin Galactic Richard Branson had a pointed statement ready at a press conference Saturday. “We are determined to find out what went wrong,” insuring a shaken space community that hope should not be lost.
This was the second crash this week, and even as federal investigators arrived in Mojave to begin going through the debris piles, and wreckage site – many questions remain, not just about this accident – but the first accident that occurred just days before. Branson went on to add in a statement released through his website that “In testing the boundaries of human capabilities and technologies, we are standing on the shoulders of giants. Yesterday, we fell short.”
Branson’s determination to find the root cause of this failure that took place two-minutes or less into the flight when the craft was released from the specially designed craft built to take SpaceShipTwo up to the altitude at which it can launch. It’s estimated that the craft was released at about 50,000 feet, completely according to plan, but after SpaceShipTwo was released from the larger carrier craft something went wrong.
Many have speculated that a failure in the engines which propel the craft upward were the culprits of the accident. However, that remains speculation, and the founder of Virgin Galactic does not want speculation clouding this investigation. Known for being an over-the-top, and easily-excitable billionaire, he founded Virgin Galactic to push the limits of space travel and to ultimately work to create this very project.
This project was in the testing phase to bring commercialized space travel to life. More than 800 had already put deposits down on such an opportunity, but Friday’s accident clouds the previously founded test-results.
“We hope that one day the test pilots will enable people to go to space safely,” Branson said elaborating on the fact that these “test pilots” do assume a lot of responsibility, and that continuing on with the program would be honoring those pilots in the long-term.
What is clear though is that Richard Branson will not be taking the backseat on this failure that he took responsibility for. Moving forward the company said that this would not stop them from proceeding with their work within Virgin Galactic.