Virgin Galactic sponsors Land Rover and Grey Goose stand by venture after crash

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Virgin Galactic hoped to start commercial flights next year.
Virgin Galactic hoped to start commercial flights next year.

Richard Branson vows to proceed with his storied space enterprise after crash investigation is completed

Grey Goose and Land Rover, official partners of Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, have vowed to stand behind the beleaguered project, which took a blow when a manned test crashed Friday, killing one crew member and injuring another.

The spacecraft crashed during a manned test over the Mojave Desert in California, resulting in the death of a pilot. It had been due to begin commercial space flights as early as next year, which were to be launched from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

While Branson said he "hoped" to continue with the Galactic program if the issue that caused the crash could be rectified, questions have been raised over its future. However, official partners have pledged to continue supporting the project.

Grey Goose vodka, which signed as a partner in September, issued a tweet of support, saying, "We acknowledge the courage it takes to be a pioneer."

In a separate statement, Grey Goose said, "As an official partner of Virgin Galactic, we extend our sympathy to the Virgin Galactic community, as well as the families of the crew at this difficult time. We remain committed to our partnership and offer Virgin Galactic our full support."

Grey Goose was set to sponsor the initial space flight, for which 750 people had been sold a ticket. It promised special cocktails forpassengers once the flight had landed.

In April, Land Rover also signed a three year contract with the space program, designed to align the brand with the spirit of "adventure." The company confirmed it would also continue with the partnership.

The tickets, which cost $250,000 each, were in high demand with celebrities including Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Justin Bieber. 

BMB founding partner Trevor Beattie, who is understood to be one of the ticket holders, tweeted to say he was "broken hearted" after hearing about the crash.

This story first appeared on marketingmagazine.co.uk.

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