A Deadly Explosion Won’t Stop Me Flying Into Space With Virgin Galactic

OPINION | The Guardian | 3 November 2014

Devastating accidents in the nascent space tourism industry will not deter me from being one of the first 100 to fly with Virgin Galactic, says Wilson da Silva.

I WANT TO WALK on the Moon, kick up the fine dust and watch it gently settle on my boot, and see the sparkling blue orb of the Earth rise over the horizon. I’m not alone. Millions have the same dream. But it’s never going to be reality unless we take risks.

On 31 October 2014, those risks were crystallised in the Mojave Desert, as SpaceShipTwo burst into flames shortly after firing its rocket motors and came tumbling to the sands 14 kilometres below. One pilot was dead, another seriously injured. It was a tragedy that shocked the fledgling commercial space passenger community.

But it didn't daunt us. And it didn’t change things for me, I’m still excited at the prospect of going into space.

Lying back on the grass and looking at the night sky during the long Sydney summers of my childhood, I fantasised about exploring outer space and pushing back the boundaries of the known. In October 2004, that dream seemed within reach: SpaceShipOne become the first private manned spacecraft, rocketing into history by sending men into space twice within 14 days.

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