Thursday 29 September 2016

Richard Branson: Our spaceship team are back on track after Virgin Galactic crash probe

Emma Clark

Published 28/07/2015 | 20:36

Richard Branson
Richard Branson

Tycoon Sir Richard Branson said his spaceship team are "back on track" following the end of an investigation in to last year's fatal Virgin Galactic crash.

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Virgin Atlantic boss Richard Branson
Virgin Atlantic boss Richard Branson

He insisted that the efforts of the "brave people who have sacrificed their lives" in developing the new technology has "not been in vain" as he posted online a picture of his team next to his latest partly-built spaceship.

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Body today found the crash was caused by a catastrophic structural failure triggered when the co-pilot unlocked the craft's braking system early.

Read more here: Virgin Galactic spaceship crash: Safety crew to announce cause of smash which killed co-pilot  

The spaceship broke apart over the Mojave desert during a test flight in October, killing co-pilot Michael Alsbury.

Sir Richard said: "While it is good to have passed this milestone and be able to focus on the future, we are acutely aware that it does not alter the fact that this was at heart a human tragedy. Our thoughts go out again today to the family, friends and colleagues of Mike.

"In short, the NTSB has been able to confirm its initial statements as to the cause of the accident: that the feather, a unique system used for the spaceship's safe re-entry from space, was manually and prematurely unlocked by Scaled's pilot.

Read more here: Branson gets off Brexit fence  

"With the investigation completed, Virgin Galactic can now focus fully on the future with a clean bill of health and a strengthened resolve to achieve its goals."

He later tweeted: "The work of brave people who have sacrificed their lives in developing new tech is not in vain."

He added: "Confident Virgin Galactic are back on track - 2nd spaceship nearly finished."

 

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