Testing new aircraft takes a level of courage and ability beyond most humans. The pilots who work out the kinks in military fighters and giant transport planes are keeping their various countries safe (let’s agree to believe) or helping further the global economy. And it doesn’t take any less bravery or skill to test the planes Virgin Galactic wants to fly. Those engineers and those pilots are at the peak of human achievement. What they’re doing is amazing. Why Virgin is doing it is not.
When various corporate representatives eulogize those two pilots as pioneers who were helping to cross the Final Frontier, that should make you angry. That pilot died not for space but for a luxury service provider. His death doesn’t get us closer to Mars; it keeps rich people further away from weightlessness and a beautiful view.