4 November 2014 - Virgin Galactic crash: an end to space tourism?
The Future Of Space Tourism After The Virgin Galactic Accident
Charles Poladian (The International Business Times)
After the Virgin Galactic accident Friday that killed test pilot Michael Alsbury and seriously injured the other pilot, the future of space tourism clearly is in question. Virgin Galactic and its founder, Sir Richard Branson, have been at the forefront of the burgeoning business, but they are not the only company to offer exclusive trips to space. The main advantage Virgin Galactic has over competitors, such as XCOR Space Expeditions, is that it has tested the craft, not just scaled models, that are intended to be used for the trip.
A ticket aboard Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo costs $250,000, and about 700 people have signed up for a flight, including Justin Bieber, Tom Hanks and Angelina Jolie. "SpaceShipTwo, Virgin Galactic’s primary space vehicle, is designed to reach an altitude that exceeds NASA’s definition of space and earns our customers official astronaut status. Passengers will experience the unique thrills of space flight, enjoying the opportunity to leave their seats to float in zero-gravity for several minutes. Looking out 12 large windows, passengers will take in astounding views of space and of the Earth below, stretching approximately 1,000 miles in every direction," reads Virgin Galactic's description of the experience. All passengers would go through three days of training ahead of the flight. Prior to Friday's accident, Virgin Galactic was planning to launch flights in 2015.
Jonathan Owen (The Independent)
Dozens of wealthy investors are considering pulling out of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic programme, in a move which could cost the entrepreneur millions, it has been claimed.
More than 30 people who signed up to be among the first space travellers are now said to be reconsidering whether they want to make the flight in the wake of the crash of SpaceShip Two in California’s Mojave desert.
Copilot Michael Alsbury, 39, died in the crash last Friday, while pilot Peter Siebold, 43, remains in hospital.
Peter Ulrich von May, an asset manager based in Switzerland, is one of those who has demanded a refund. “I want out. I subscribed seven years ago at 63, am still an active private pilot and in good health but who knows how long it will now take. I have already informed VG of my wish - no reply yet,” he told The Independent.
Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith (The Independent)
Virgin Galactic was given warnings several years ago about the danger of its rockets but chose to ignore cautions from experts, it has been claimed.
One pilot was killed and another seriously injured in a test flight in the Mojave Desert on Friday, after Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo broke up inflight.
Carolynne Campbell-Knight, an expert on rocket propulsion at the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS), said she raised concerns with Virgin Galactic over its use of nitrous oxide in its rockets around four years ago.
Staff (BBC News)
In a blog post, Sir Richard said everyone involved in the project was "deeply saddened".
"All our thoughts are with the families of everyone affected by this tragic event," he wrote.
He said that he was flying to California, describing it as "one of the most difficult trips I have ever had to make".
"Space is hard - but worth it. We will persevere and move forward together," he added.
George Whitesides, chief executive of Virgin Galactic, echoed Sir Richard's comments at a California news conference.
"The future rests in many ways on hard days like this, but we believe we owe it to the team to understand this and to move forward. And that is what we'll do."
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"4 November 2014 - Virgin Galactic crash: an end to space tourism?", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), avril 2014. Consulté le 28/02/2024. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2014/4-november-2014-virgin-galactic-crash-an-end-to-space-tourism-