THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Virgin Galactic company has confirmed that the crash during the test flight of spaceship will not affect the maiden space tour.
The test flight was part of the preparation for the much-awaited space tour by six passengers and two pilots scheduled to depart in December 2014. Well-known traveller Santhosh George Kulangara is the first Indian participant selected for the mission. The passenger spaceship being developed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Company crashed during a test flight on Friday near the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, killing one pilot and seriously injuring the other. Santhosh George Kulangara and other six selected space travellers were busy preparing for the travel in December 2014. They have already completed the ‘zero gravity’ and ‘G Tolerance’ trainings.
Santhosh has received an e-mail communication from Virgin Company on Friday afternoon informing about plans for the test-flight. In a subsequent message after few minutes, news of the tragic accident was reported. A detailed mail on Saturday morning revealed all the details about the accident. Santhosh and other co-passengers are receiving e-mail briefing from the company every one hour.
“This accident will no way affect our maiden space tour. The project is very much on and we will definitely execute it,’’ Virgin company has categorically communicated to all shortlisted passengers.
The shortlisted passengers have paid or put down deposits to eventually fly aboard the spaceship, which is hauled to an altitude of about 45,000 feet (13.7 kms) and released by Virgin’s White Knight Two carrier jet airplane. According to plans, the spaceship then fires its rocket motor to catapult it to about 100 km above earth, giving passengers a view of the planet set against the blackness of space and a few minutes of weightlessness.
Santhosh George Kulangara has obtained the special permission to videograph the entire journey and sights.