Test Flight of Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship for Tourists Blew Up

Do you remember Back to the Future Part II?

In the film, by the date July 2, 2012, we were set to have not just hoverboards (cool but kinda dangerous) and self-tying shoe laces (lame but still futuristic), but we were also going to have flying cars by now.

Well it’s been over two years since that date, and we still don’t have any of those things.

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What we do have is Virgin Airlines’ subsidiary Virgin Galactic attempting to make commercial spaceflight a reality, something that will give people who cannot be NASA astronauts (basically everybody) but who can afford $250,000 a ticket (well, not really everybody) a chance to actually go to outer space.

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Sadly, that reality hit a setback, as Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo blew up during a test run 120 north of Los Angeles, killing one pilot and wounding another.

The following statement was released on the company’s website:

Virgin Galactic’s partner, Scaled Composites, conducted a powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo earlier today. During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle. The WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft landed safely. Our first concern is with crew and their families. We will work closely with relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident and provide updates as soon as we are able to do so.

The flights were initially set to begin seven years ago, but an explosion at the test site killed three workers in July 2007. Flights have continued to be delayed, but the company was running more test flights and getting closer. This is the fourth test flight SpaceShipTwo took that was powered by rocket, but this time it was powered by a new fuel. No word on whether or not that fuel had something to do with the anomaly.

So far, some 700 people, including celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Russell Brand, have paid for their tickets, shelling out a combined total of $80 million to the company to get to go to space sometime.

Maybe the kinks will finally get worked out, and maybe they’ll finally get that chance. I mean, history tells us men have been going to space since 1961, and money obviously isn’t an object, since millions have been poured into Virgin Galactic, including a large dose of funding from Aabar Investments PJS of Abu Dhabi.

Knowing how much is shoved into government black projects, I seriously doubt many halfway-aware adults honestly believe by now the technology doesn’t exist…

With setback after setback after delay after setback, it’s almost as if somebody doesn’t want the average (albeit wealthy) civilian to get to go to space…



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