Most people concluded that last month’s Scaled Composites accident would delay Virgin Galactic’s plans to begin suborbital space tourism services; even Burt Rutan admitted last weekend that the accident would delay plans for rocket-powered test flights (without saying exactly what that schedule was.) Richard Branson, though, doesn’t seem to have factored any delay into his plans to begin commercial service, based on these comments in an interview with New York magazine:
Well, as you might know, we’re working on space travel, and Virgin Galactic is going into space in eighteen months’ time. Our spaceships will be done in nine months’ time, and we’ll be doing test flights. Then from there we hope to set up a Virgin hotel in space. We have quite ambitious plans for space travel.
Eighteen months? That may well be “quite ambitious”.