5 PR lessons from the tepid Virgin Galactic launch

Last month, the entrepreneur held a media event to publicize Virgin’s new space-flight vehicle. Here’s what PR pros can learn from its communications shortcomings.

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However, media attention can become a bad habit for executives.

As a world-famous entrepreneur, Branson boasts a list of impressive accomplishments. However, his commercial spaceflight company, Virgin Galactic, is not yet one of them.

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo exploded in mid-air on Oct. 31, 2014, during a test flight. One pilot was killed and another was severely injured after ejecting.

Members of the news media were unforgiving.

The Washington Post described the catastrophe as “the most visible failure of the biggest test program in space aviation history.” The Wall Street Journal reported: “Richard Branson’s projections on launch ran counter to technical capabilities…the craft’s progress had been plagued by technical problems that few outsiders knew about.”

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