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‘He’s overselling it’: Australia’s first astronaut says Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic program is dangerous

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Australia’s first astronaut says Sir Richard Branson is “overselling” his “dangerous” plan to take regular citizens into space.

Dr Andy Thomas, who spent 22 years with NASA and went on four space flights says the Virgin Galactic program has been incorrectly sold to the public.

“To look upon it that he’s somehow doing the equivalent to what the space shuttle did at lower cost is wrong,” Dr Thomas said.

“He has a technology that takes people right to the edge of the atmosphere, but he cannot stay there, he doesn’t have anywhere the velocity needed to stay there, so they’d fall right down.

“So you could argue whether you’re really getting the space flight experience or whether you’re just getting a very high altitude aeroplane ride.

“He makes statements about this that I would not be comfortable making, but he’s a businessman.

“I think he’s overselling it a little bit.

“It’s really just a high altitude aeroplane ride and it’s nothing more than that, and it’s a fairly dangerous one.”

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“That notwithstanding I still support what I’m trying to do, I’d just like to see a more accurate representation of what he’s trying to do,” he said.

Image: Nine News (Dr Thomas – left)

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