(London Telegraph) Sending humans into space is hugely difficult, insanely expensive and extremely dangerous. The idea that spaceflight could be made as simple, risk-free and affordable as a high-end Antarctic cruise was always a fantasy. So the tragic loss of the Virgin Galactic spacecraft over the Mojave Desert on Friday may be the death-knell for Richard Branson's dream of sending hundreds of wealthy – but not necessarily super-rich – people on short, sub-orbital hops into space for $250,000 a seat.
On Saturday, Branson's biographer Tom Bower stated that the project is doomed, and claimed that an engineer had walked off just a few weeks ago citing safety concerns over the engine technology. It wasn't supposed to be like this. Virgin Galactic was an attempt to prove the doubters wrong – to show that, where so many people have claimed they will make space easy and affordable but failed, Branson was going to be the man who achieved the breakthrough.