Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
Two stories today from Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic:
- Richard Branson is “90 percent” certain they will launch passengers in 2014
- Richard Branson launches search for the child who inspired him to found Virgin Galactic
The quote from the first story is especially entertaining:
“I’m pretty convinced that by this summer a large, new spacecraft will go into space,” the Virgin Galactic owner said in an interview with Fusion.net, adding, “and then I think by September, myself and my family will go into space. I’m 90 percent convinced that will happen.”
This article, however, was written by a local New Mexico news source, which is understandably very skeptical of Branson considering that he has made this exact same promise now three years in a row. Not only has Branson and his family not flown in space as promised previously, almost no powered test flights of SpaceShipTwo have occurred as promised.
Eventually, you have got to produce. Branson’s failure to fulfill his previous promises makes this new promise sound very hollow. I think he would be far better served right now if he told us precisely what is going on and why there have been so few test flights. This is cutting edge technology. Everyone expects there to be problems, challenges, and delays. Filling us in on them will not embarrass Branson or Virgin Galactic, unless we find out he has been lying to us.
I should also note that Branson’s effort here to manipulate the press is apparently far less successful than past efforts. Previously, promises of an upcoming SpaceShipTwo suborbital flight would have gotten wide starry-eyed coverage from major news sources. Space geeks like I would have talked about it as well with great enthusiasm.
Now, however, the story is reported first by a non-space source, and subsequent reports, like the one above, are skeptical.
Time is running out on Virgin Galactic. They have got to start delivering.