“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 a 18-foot Deepsea Challenger called Deep-Light Challenger to carry out 5 dives — one for each of the deepest points of the earth’s five oceans — all in two year’s 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.
Deep Flight, the company that built the sub, told The Telegraph it could not support the project because the submarine could only be used safety 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.
And 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 inuring another. The spaceship was part of Branson’s plans to offer commercial space flights for high paying customers. After the crash, many future Virgin Galatic customers who had already put their deposits down began demanding their money back and canceling flight plans.”