Britain's Princess Beatrice Passes On Virgin Space Flight

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The Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crash during a test flight has shaken up many who were interested in the project, as AOL reported at the time. Now, at least one person who was assumed to have a spot on the inaugural flight, Britain's Princess Beatrice of York, will apparently not travel, according to the Daily Mail.

"Beatrice was excited by the idea of space tourism, but there is no way she will be going on one of the flights, if they are ever allowed to take place," a "source close to Buckingham Palace" told the publication.

The 26-year-old Beatrice, daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, is reportedly in a romantic relationship with Dave Clark, the head of astronaut relations for Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic's owner, billionaire Richard Branson, has planned to be on the trip with his son and three guests.

Mansour Travel in Beverly Hills, an accredited sales agent for the space flights, told Reuters that no customers had asked for a refund. Tom Hanks and Angelina Jolie have booked trips.

Reuters wrote that 800 people have paid $250,000 each to ride on a two-pilot sub-orbital ship, which will have room for only six passengers at a time. The cabin is about the size of a Falcon 900 executive jet, according Virgin Galactic, with large windows to give passengers the best possible view. A trip would run two hours and have several minutes of weightlessness.

"This is what exploring is all about," said XPRIZE Foundation chairman and chief executive officer Peter Diamandis, who has booked a trip as well, to Reuters. "We risk our lives for what we believe in. This is the American way - the explorer's way. I for one am proud to be a Virgin Galactic client."

A press representative for Virgin Galactic told AOL Jobs that they didn't know immediately whether anyone had cancelled a flight, but would try to get an answer.

Although called the first commercial space ride for tourists, U.S. businessman Dennis Tito paid $20 million to Russia in 2001 for a ride on a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station, according to

The SpaceShipTwo crash cost the co-pilot his life, while the pilot, who ejected, was seriously injured. But it was not the project's first flight. As of October 30, there had been 172 total flights.

Space travel has always been a dangerous undertaking. Whether discussing the Challenger and Columbia shuttles, the Apollo 1 test that resulted in a fire, or problems in the Russian space program, more than 20 have died before this latest crash, according to the blog LiveScience.
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