Capitalism in space: Virgin Galactic announced yesterday that it has canceled its announced November suborbital flight, claiming the cause were new COVID-19 guidelines imposed by the New Mexico Department of Health.
The flight had been scheduled for the November 19-23 time period. It had been announced with the typical hype that comes from Richard Branson.
Personally, I don’t believe Branson or Virgin Galactic as to the cause of this flight cancellation. I think they either never intended to fly, or have known for some time that new technical problems would prevent its launch as scheduled. I think they hyped the launch despite this, which conveniently pumped up the stock price at a time Branson was selling stock. They now announce the cancellation, the stock drops, but Branson has already pocketed his profits.
The timing of this announcement is also most ironic, as it occurred on the same day SpaceX docked four astronauts on ISS. Branson’s company began building its suborbital spacecraft in 2004, promising that it would soon fly hundreds, even thousands of private passengers into space. Sixteen years later it has never flown one passenger, and very few manned test flights. In the interim SpaceX built its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule, and is now launching passengers to orbit, with its first entirely private launch scheduled less than a year from now.
The comparison is quite stark. Why anyone would invest real money in this fake company at this point baffles me.
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