Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of Virgin Galactic, said on Saturday that he is determined to find out what caused SpaceshipTwo, his prototype space tourism rocket, to crash on a test flight on Friday, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The ship’s crash killed one pilot and injured another.
Branson spoke at the Mojave Air and Space Port, but would not elaborate with any details of the accident itself, instead letting the National Transportation Safety Board answer any questions. He said, “We are determined to find out what went wrong….Yesterday we fell short. We’ll now comprehensively assess the results of the crash and are determined to learn from this and move forward….We are not going to push on blindly.”
The billionaire spoke harshly of those who were offering reasons for the crash, the Mercury notes.
“To be honest, I find it slightly irresponsible that people who know nothing about what they’re saying can be saying things before the NTSB makes their comments.”
Michael Tyner Alsbury, 39, of Tehachapi, was reported as the pilot killed in the accident. He had been employed by Scaled Composites, the company developing the spaceship for Virgin Galactic.
In April 2013, Alsbury had flown SpaceShipTwo’s first powered and had been feted by the Society of Experimental Pilots.