Last week’s fatal Virgin Galactic spaceship crash has cost the company about 20 of its 700 potential customers. According to the South China Morning Post, the company confirmed that it had seen cancellations from roughly 3 percent of the would-be space tourists on its waitlist. After the crash, which killed co-pilot Michael Alsbury and injured pilot Peter Siebold, company founder Richard Branson said that Virgin Galactic will continue to work towards its commercial launch goals, although the company will not “push on blindly” and will figure out the exact nature of the problem to make sure it couldn’t happen again. Its normal website has been replaced with a statement on the event.
Officials are still investigating what caused Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo to break apart during a test run and crash into the Mojave Desert. So far, the National Transportation and Safety Board has recovered the intact fuel tanks and engine, apparently disproving a theory that a new type of fuel caused the crash. It’s also found that the drag-producing tail wings seem to have been deployed prematurely by either pilot or mechanical error, which could have torn the craft apart. But the NTSB and Virgin Galactic emphasize that it’s too early to say what’s actually behind the disaster.