‘A dagger to the heart but we must go on’

 Tim Rayment, John Harlow and Mark Hookham

THE disastrous crash of Sir Richard Branson’s commercial space rocket SpaceShipTwo during a test flight on Friday has done little to dent the determination of those who have already signed up to be among its first paying passengers.

Clients who paid deposits of tens of thousands of pounds in the belief that Branson’s Virgin Galactic space agency would get them to the boundary of space said the crash, which left a test pilot dead and another seriously injured, had only strengthened their resolve to be among the first commercial space travellers.

“The best thing we can do to honour the person who died and the one who got injured is to continue the mission,” said Per Wimmer, an entrepreneur and adventurer who 10 years ago paid for his ride in full as one of the first 100 people to sign up. “We must determine the cause of the crash.