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Richard Branson Clashes With Channel 4's Jon Snow Over Virgin Galactic Safety

03/11/2014 22:03 GMT | Updated 04/11/2014 12:59 GMT

Richard Branson clashed with Jon Snow on Monday after the veteran broadcaster posed a series of questions on the safety of the Virgin Galactic enterprise, which suffered a fatal crash on friday.

The initial National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said that the spacecraft’s feathering system was deployed before it reached the correct speed, leading to the crash that killed one pilot and injured a second. This ran contrary to reports in the British press over the weekend, which suggested problems with the fuel tanks and the engine.

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"They've (the NTSB) ruled out a lot of the very British speculation by self-proclaimed experts over the weekend, in saying that the fuel tanks, the engine were all intact, and that there was no explosion, and they will come out with more findings in the next couple of days," he said.

Criticising the Channel 4 news reporter, Branson added: "I find it very insulting - the whole tone of your questions, and all I can say is that it is absolutely clear - and the NTSB have made it absolutely clear - that there have been no fault with fuel tanks, no fault with the engines, whatsoever."

Over questions of secrecy, particularly a claim that the company does not share findings with the scientific community, the billionaire said: "I just can't quite believe your questioning.

"I respect you enormously normally, I have no respect for you at all for the way you're conducting this interview. But anyway, I'll answer your questions - Virgin Galactic is at the cutting edge of space. We're not going to open our books to our rivals. Most sensible commentators believe we are ahead of the pack in terms of taking people into space."