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calendar   Friday - October 31, 2014

Aww Crap

Virgin Galactic Space Ship Crashes, 1 Dead

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Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, part of a commercial space venture founded by British billionaire Richard Branson, crashed during testing Friday and broke into several pieces. One person was killed and another injured.

“Space is hard and today was a tough day,” said George Whitesides, the CEO of Virgin Galactic.

Two people were aboard SpaceShipTwo and a California Highway Patrol spokesperson said two people were found near the crash in the desert north of California City and east of Mojave. One of the individuals had parachuted out of the aircraft, and another was located near the scene as well, California Highway Patrol said. Their names have not been released.

The WhiteKnightTwo aircraft, which carries the SpaceShipTwo, landed safely. National Transportation Safety Board investigators were on their way to the site.

Virgin Galactic, founded by Branson, has engaged in a nearly decade-long endeavor to produce the world’s first commercial space liner, which would make several trips a day carrying scores of paying customers into space for a brief journey.

It announced an agreement in May with the Federal Aviation Administration that helped clear the path to send paying customers on a suborbital flight by setting parameters for how routine missions to space will take place in national airspace.

The explosion scattered debris across a two-mile swath of the desert floor outside Mojave, California, and came after the plane was released from its WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane. SpaceShipTwo was testing its rocket engine in flight for the first time in more than nine months.

“During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle,” Virgin Galactic said in a statement. “The WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft landed safely. Our first concern is the status of the pilots.”

...

Photographer Ken Brown, who was covering the test flight, told NBC News that he saw an explosion high in the air and later came upon SpaceShipTwo debris scattered across a small area of the desert. The Mojave airport’s director, Stuart Witt, said the craft crashed north of Mojave. He deferred further comment pending a news conference that is scheduled for 2 p.m. PT (5 p.m. ET).

Keith Holloway, a Washington-based spokesman for the National Transportation and Safety Board, said “we are in the process of collecting information.” The FAA said it was also investigating the incident.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/31/2014 at 08:36 PM   
Filed Under: • Space •  
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