Richard Branson scraps deep-sea exploration plans

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Richard Branson Scraps Deep-Sea Exploration Plans

Sir Richard Branson's plans to explore the world's deepest oceans have been scrapped.

The Virgin Oceanic project was first unveiled in 2011, and planned to use an 18-food deep-sea submarine called DeepFlight Challenger to carry out five dives -one to each of the deepest points of the Earth's five oceans all in two years time.

Branson said he intended to pilot the second dive to the Puerto Rico trench in the Atlantic Ocean himself.

Virgin Oceanic planned to charge submarine passengers or "aquanauts" up to $500,000 to ride along.

But now, three years later, Virgin has confirmed the project has been canceled over safety concerns.

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Richard Branson scraps deep-sea exploration plans
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 2 : Sheriff's deputies inspect the wreckage of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 in a desert field November 2, 2014 north of Mojave, California on The Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 crashed on October 31, 2014 during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 2 : Agents from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), FBI and Sheriff's comb through the wreckage of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 in a desert field November 2, 2014 north of Mojave, California. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 crashed on October 31, 2014 during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 2 : Agents from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), FBI and Sheriff's comb through the wreckage of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 in a desert field November 2, 2014 north of Mojave, California. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 crashed on October 31, 2014 during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 2 : Sheriff's deputies inspect the wreckage of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 in a desert field November 2, 2014 north of Mojave, California on The Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 crashed on October 31, 2014 during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 2 : Sheriff's deputies inspect the wreckage of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 in a desert field November 2, 2014 north of Mojave, California on The Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 crashed on October 31, 2014 during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 2 : Sheriff's deputies inspect the wreckage of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 in a desert field November 2, 2014 north of Mojave, California on The Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 crashed on October 31, 2014 during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 2 : Agents from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), FBI and Sheriff's comb through the wreckage of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 in a desert field November 2, 2014 north of Mojave, California. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 crashed on October 31, 2014 during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 2 : Agents from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), FBI and Sheriff's comb through the wreckage of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 in a desert field November 2, 2014 north of Mojave, California. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 crashed on October 31, 2014 during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 1 : Christopher A Hart, Acting Chairman of the NTSB walks away after a press conference at the Mojave Air and Space Port regarding the crash of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo in Mojave, California on November 1, 2014 in Mojave, Ca;ifornia. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 while was being develpoed by Richard Branson, crashed on Friday killing one and injurung one. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 1 : Christopher A Hart, Acting Chairman of the NTSBspeaks to the media during a press conference at the Mojave Air and Space Port regarding the crash of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo in Mojave, California on November 1, 2014 in Mojave, Ca;ifornia. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 while was being develpoed by Richard Branson, crashed on Friday killing one and injurung one. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 1 : Christopher A Hart, Acting Chairman of the NTSBspeaks to the media during a press conference at the Mojave Air and Space Port regarding the crash of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo in Mojave, California on November 1, 2014 in Mojave, Ca;ifornia. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 while was being develpoed by Richard Branson, crashed on Friday killing one and injurung one. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 1 : Christopher A Hart, Acting Chairman of the NTSBspeaks to the media during a press conference at the Mojave Air and Space Port regarding the crash of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo in Mojave, California on November 1, 2014 in Mojave, Ca;ifornia. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 while was being develpoed by Richard Branson, crashed on Friday killing one and injurung one. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 1 : Christopher A Hart, Acting Chairman of the NTSBspeaks to the media during a press conference at the Mojave Air and Space Port regarding the crash of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo in Mojave, California on November 1, 2014 in Mojave, Ca;ifornia. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 while was being develpoed by Richard Branson, crashed on Friday killing one and injurung one. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 1: Agents from the NTSB and the FBI survey the debris from SpaceShipTwo out in a desert field near to the crash site on November 1, 2014, in Mojave, California. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crashed on October 31, 2014 during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 1: Debris from SpaceShipTwo lies on the road on November 1, 2014, in Mojave, California. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crashed on October 31, 2014 during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 1: Debris from SpaceShipTwo lies on the desert field and road on November 1, 2014, in Mojave, California. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crashed on October 31, 2014 during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 1: Debris from SpaceShipTwo lies in a desert field on November 1, 2014, in Mojave, California. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crashed on October 31, 2014 during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 1: Agents from the NTSB and the FBI survey the debris from SpaceShipTwo out in a desert field near to the crash site on November 1, 2014, in Mojave, California. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crashed on October 31, 2014 during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 1: Agents from the NTSB and the FBI survey the debris from SpaceShipTwo out in a desert field near to the crash site on November 1, 2014, in Mojave, California. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crashed on October 31, 2014 during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 1: A sheriff's deputy surveys the area nea to the crash site of SpaceShipTwo out in a desert field on November 1, 2014, in Mojave, California. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crashed on October 31, 2014 during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 1: Debris from SpaceShipTwo lies in a desert field on November 1, 2014, in Mojave, California. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crashed on October 31, 2014 during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 1: Agents from the NTSB and the FBI survey the debris from SpaceShipTwo out in a desert field near to the crash site on November 1, 2014, in Mojave, California. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crashed on October 31, 2014 during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
Wreckage from Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo is seen near Cantil, California, on November 01, 2014. British tycoon Richard Branson insisted Saturday his dream of commercial space travel remained alive but warned his company would not 'press on blindly' without knowing what caused the spacecraft crash that killed one pilot and seriously injured another on October 31. Speaking to reporters after arriving in the California facility which had been the hub of Virgin Galactic's ambitious space program, Branson said safety remained his paramount concern. 'We owe it to our test pilots to find out exactly what went wrong, and once we've found out what went wrong, if we can overcome it, we'll make absolutely certain that the dream lives on,' Branson told reporters. His comments at the Mojave Air and Space Port came as a team of federal investigators began probing the causes of Friday's accident, which dealt a devastating setback to the cause of commercial space tourism. AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
MOJAVE, CA - NOVEMBER 1: Debris from SpaceShipTwo lies in a desert field on November 1, 2014, in Mojave, California. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crashed on October 31, 2014 during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
Wreckage from Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo is seen near Cantil, California, on November 01, 2014. British tycoon Richard Branson insisted Saturday his dream of commercial space travel remained alive but warned his company would not 'press on blindly' without knowing what caused the spacecraft crash that killed one pilot and seriously injured another on October 31. Speaking to reporters after arriving in the California facility which had been the hub of Virgin Galactic's ambitious space program, Branson said safety remained his paramount concern. 'We owe it to our test pilots to find out exactly what went wrong, and once we've found out what went wrong, if we can overcome it, we'll make absolutely certain that the dream lives on,' Branson told reporters. His comments at the Mojave Air and Space Port came as a team of federal investigators began probing the causes of Friday's accident, which dealt a devastating setback to the cause of commercial space tourism. AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
An National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) team surveys a tail section from the crashed Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo near Cantil, California, on November 01, 2014. British tycoon Richard Branson insisted Saturday his dream of commercial space travel remained alive but warned his company would not 'press on blindly' without knowing what caused the spacecraft crash that killed one pilot and seriously injured another on October 31. Speaking to reporters after arriving in the California facility which had been the hub of Virgin Galactic's ambitious space program, Branson said safety remained his paramount concern. 'We owe it to our test pilots to find out exactly what went wrong, and once we've found out what went wrong, if we can overcome it, we'll make absolutely certain that the dream lives on,' Branson told reporters. His comments at the Mojave Air and Space Port came as a team of federal investigators began probing the causes of Friday's accident, which dealt a devastating setback to the cause of commercial space tourism. AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
The tail of the Virgin Galactic flight that crashed Friday in the Mojave Desert. (ABC 23)
First photo: @virgingalactic's #SpaceShipTwo crashes http://t.co/k5JynVMGQ9 http://t.co/NcIr01NXcv
PHOTO: #SpaceShipTwo: crews transport patient by helicopter http://t.co/MwSSbiJkIN
file photo from @virgingalactic showing test pilots with #SpaceShipTwo and #WhiteKnightTwo earlier this year http://t.co/1hFtpRTJAQ
1 dead, 1 injured after #VirginGalactic #SpaceShipTwo crashes during test flight: http://t.co/Ez82WFt9GB http://t.co/EvekjOGR0q
More wreckage of the spacecraft. (ABC23)
Emergency personnel responding to the crash. (ABC 23)
The aircraft landed in a vast desert area far from any population centers. (ABC 23)
Richard Branson, poses for photographers with a model of the LauncherOne rocket, from the window of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, on the third day of the Farnborough International Air Show in Farnborough, U.K., on Wednesday, July 11, 2012. The Farnborough International Air Show runs from July 9-15. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Members of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) arrive before dawn at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mohave, California on November 1, 2014. British tycoon Richard Branson was poised to rally his grieving Virgin Galactic staff in California on Saturday as investigators began probing the test flight crash of a spacecraft that left one pilot dead and another seriously injured. A shocked Branson headed to the Mojave Desert within hours of Friday's crash, which saw the company's futuristic suborbital vehicle broken into several pieces and scattered across a wide area. The crash was the second disaster to rock the private space industry in the space of a few days after an Antares rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station exploded after take-off in Virginia in Tuesday. Experts say Friday's accident will delay the advent of commercial space tourism by several years.Virgin Galactic had hoped to start ferrying wealthy customers to the edge of space in 2015, charging $250,000 per person for a ticket on the company's six-seater SpaceShipTwo. AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) arrive before dawn at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mohave, California on November 1, 2014. British tycoon Richard Branson was poised to rally his grieving Virgin Galactic staff in California on Saturday as investigators began probing the test flight crash of a spacecraft that left one pilot dead and another seriously injured. A shocked Branson headed to the Mojave Desert within hours of Friday's crash, which saw the company's futuristic suborbital vehicle broken into several pieces and scattered across a wide area. The crash was the second disaster to rock the private space industry in the space of a few days after an Antares rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station exploded after take-off in Virginia in Tuesday. Experts say Friday's accident will delay the advent of commercial space tourism by several years.Virgin Galactic had hoped to start ferrying wealthy customers to the edge of space in 2015, charging $250,000 per person for a ticket on the company's six-seater SpaceShipTwo. AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
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Deepflight, the company that built the sub, told The Telegraph it could not support the project because the submarine could only be safely used for one dive.

And multiple outlets are noting a statement Branson put on the Virgin group website months ago that seemed to imply the project was going to be shelved.

In it, Branson said, "We are now widening the focus of the project and looking for new technology to help us explore the ocean and democratise access at reduced cost and increased safety."

This decision to cancel the project comes after Branson's Virgin Galactic spaceship exploded in October, killing one test pilot and injuring another.

The spaceship was part of Branson's plans to offer commercial space flights for high paying customers.

After the crash, many future Virgin Galactic passengers who had already put their deposits down began demanding money back and canceling their flight plans.


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