Richard Branson has been known over the years for his aggressive plans that are always on the cutting-edge of technology. His willingness to push the envelope and work to create more, and do more with less is something that has defined him as a person, as well as his company Virgin.
This year though has been a rough one for the company, led by Sir Richard Branson. In October, a Virgin Galactic space rocket crashed during a test over the Mojave Desert in California. The test crash resulted in the pilot losing his life – and the survivor living by nothing short of a miracle. Space though was not his only ambition. The second life-changing mission that he and his company were on was to fully-explore and conquer the massive depths of the ocean.
Specifically, Virgin Oceanic had plans to conquer the Pacific’s Mariana Trench. Just as Virgin Galactic was working to take people into space on a “trip” this mission was quite similar. It would involve paying customers to spend $500,000 for the opportunity to dive into some of the deepest parts of the Pacific Ocean, and explore the Mariana Trench.
That though, which would have been achieved with the DeepFlight Challenger, was scrapped due to a necessary change in “tack,” according to a statement from Branson on Virgin’s website. He went on to point out that “Starting new ventures takes a ‘screw it, let’s do it’ attitude and finding the right partners to help us achieve the unthinkable.”
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A spokesperson for Virgin Oceanic pointed out that “We were not sure DeepFlight Challneger would make it down. That project has been put on ice while we look at other technology that works.” The end goal was to dive to the five deepest portions of the ocean’s around the world including the Malloy Deep in the Arctic Ocean, the Diamantina trench in the India Ocean, the Puerto Rico trench in the Atlantic and the Marina Trench in the Pacific Ocean.
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One major reason why Virgin Oceanic might have scrapped the plan was due to the fact that during a series of tests – the team noticed that the glass cockpit was beginning to show signs of cracking, which could have resulted in failure. It also didn’t help that the individual who was supposed to be the pilot of the craft that would reach those record-breaking depths was the same individual who lost his life in the crash in the Virgin Galactic crash in October.