Space tourism may still be on the cards in the near future, despite the disastrous test-flight of the first spaceship developed by Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, which led to a crash last week, killing one pilot.
Undeterred by the accident of SpaceShipTwo, Branson's company stated on Tuesday that it would continue work on the second spacecraft, claiming that it was 65% near completion.
"While this has been a tragic setback, we are moving forward and will do so deliberately and with determination. We are continuing to build the second SpaceShipTwo," Virgin Galactic said in a statement, The Wall Street Journal reported.
On Monday, Branson himself had said in an interview that he would be the first space passenger.
"There is no way I would ask others to go on a Virgin Galactic flight if I didn't feel it was safe enough for myself," he told CNN during an interview on Monday.
800 people have reportedly already booked their rides on the spaceship, each ride costing a staggering $250,000, and the list includes celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Lady Gaga and Leonardo DiCaprio, among others.
Branson said the passengers were still committed to flying on the spacecraft.
"They want to see this happen, and they want to show their commitment," he said.
However, not all may be well for Branson's company, as several millionaire investors are said to be rethinking flying on the spacecraft as and when it takes to the skies.
"I want out. I subscribed seven years ago at 63, am still an active private pilot and in good health but who knows how long it will now take. I have already informed VG of my wish - no reply yet," Peter Ulrich von May, an asset manager based in Switzerland, told The Independent.
News reports suggest that more than 30 people are looking to pull out of the future flight and are demanding their money back.
3% of Virgin Galactic's customers had cancelled their bookings on the spacecraft, a company spokesperson was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
Princess Beatrice of York has also given up her seat on the Virgin Galactic space flight, The Daily Mail reported.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident, which is suspected to have been caused by a premature unlocking of the spacecraft's tail surfaces, called 'feathers', which is supposed to be done only after the rocket motor has finished its burn.
The spaceship was being developed by the Branson-owned company for space tourism, and was taking its first test flight since January near the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, when it came crashing down and disintegrated into two pieces last Friday.