Sir Richard Branson has pledged to persevere with his space tourism service despite yesterday's fatal test flight crash which killed one pilot and seriously injured another.
Writing on his blog as he travelled to the SpaceShipTwo crash site at the Mojave Desert, he said: "Space is hard – but worth it. We will persevere and move forward together."
Sir Richard penned the post last night as he refulled on what he described as "one of the most difficult trips I have ever had to make".
He wrote: "I will be in Mojave soon to join the Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composite teams involved in the SpaceShipTwo flight test program. Mojave is also where I want to be – with the dedicated and hard-working people who are now in shock at this devastating loss.
"Everyone at Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company and Scaled Composites is deeply saddened by today’s events. All our thoughts are with the families of everyone affected by this tragic event, and we are doing everything we can to support them.
"We will cooperate fully with all the authorities involved in the investigation, and share more information when possible. For now, I want to reiterate our thanks to everyone from within the space community and beyond who has sent their overwhelming messages of love and support."
The Virgin Group founder, who has been a long-time advocate of commercial space travel, explained that Friday's fateful crash was the latest part of an "extensive test flight program" and the 55th time SpaceShipTwo had flown.
"We’ve always known that the road to space is extremely difficult – and that every new transportation system has to deal with bad days early in their history," he said.
Virgin had hoped to launch its commercial space travel service next year, with Sir Richard promising to travel on the first flight.