Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson says he's not about to give up on taking stars beyond the stars, even in the light of last week’s crash of one of its spaceships, a crash in which one pilot died and another was injured.
In fact, Branson, a man worth $4.6 billion, was all over the TV early this week, saying that space travel is still “absolutely … worth the risks.”
“It’s a grand program which has had a horrible setback,” Branson told Matt Lauer on the "Today" Show, “but I don’t think anybody watching this program would want us to abandon it at this stage.”
He told "CBS This Morning" that after Friday's accident, two more people with money burning holes in their pockets signed up that very day for rides to space, and they paid in full “as a gesture of goodwill.”
Branson, who founded his empire with the Virgin record store chain and has dabbled in railway, airline, comic book and blood bank interests, said that Friday was an “incredibly sad” day for the family of pilot Mike Alsbury, who was killed, and the Virgin Galactic team. “But we’ve now picked ourselves up, the team are pushing on building the next spaceship and waiting for the final report from the NTSB.”
Looking into the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board said late Sunday that SpaceShipTwo's co-pilot changed the spacecraft's aerodynamic controls too soon in the flight, which may have caused the tail to rise and create drag, which caused the plane to disintegrate.
You know what? Maybe it is rocket science after all! This is complicated stuff, launching space ships skyward, and it can only be worse for the crew if Ashton Kutcher is aboard, he being the actor who once pointed out that "Modeling is the best because you have to look hot, which comes easy to me, you know. I'm blessed with that." If I'm flying somewhere on vacation (and I won't) and I look over and see Kelso in the next seat, I'm going to do what Red Forman always threatened to do.
Thinking of traveling through space with that crowd makes it a lot easier to sit through backups at the Delaware Memorial Bridge.