November 07, 2014

Letter from George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company

To our friends and family all around the world,

Today marks one week since the tragic accident on SpaceShipTwo’s fourth rocket-powered test flight. The number of messages that have flowed in to us from all around the world expressing sympathies and condolences have been truly, truly helpful. Our team still hurts as we mourn the passing of a dear friend and the injury to another. Many have expressed a desire to help the families; one fund has been established here. There is another hole in our hearts that was once filled by the vehicle itself: Enterprise, the first SpaceShipTwo. We have worked with and flown on Enterprise for four years, and were so eager to see her reach her natural element of outer space in the next few months.

But your messages of support have lifted our spirits.

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Not only have you comforted us in a time of loss, you have told us to take courage, and to continue pressing forward with resolve. You have told us that you also believe that the space frontier must be opened, just as we do. For that, we thank you.

And we want to share with you our story, as we move forward. The lessons of October 31 will be learned, and our system and our team will be made stronger for it. The second SpaceShipTwo is already two-thirds complete, and our team are pouring themselves into that project with heightened resolve. Our will is indefatigable, and our team is determined.

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In the near future, we’ll replace this temporary webpage with a more thorough site designed to help you understand who we are, what we are doing, and why. On that site, we’ll share with you the story of the construction and testing of the second SpaceShipTwo, the story of the ongoing development of our LauncherOne small satellite vehicle, and more.

For now, though, I leave you with this message of sincere thanks and resolve.

Ad Astra,

George T. Whitesides

CEO, Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company

Richard Branson