Midflight Explosion: Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Test Flight


The Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo rocket plane experienced a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle Friday afternoon.
According to Virgin Galactic, “The WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft landed safely. Our first concern is the status of the pilots, which is unknown at this time.”

Two pilots normally fly in SpaceShipTwo’s cockpit during a test. The pilots are equipped with parachutes, and their are reports that parachutes were sighted over the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.

The California Highway Patrol is reporting one fatality and one person seriously injured.

The explosion is reported to have occurred after Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo fired up its rocket engine in flight for the first time in more than nine months. In its last flight SpaceShipTwo took an unpowered glide back to the Mojave runway on October 7, 2014.

The carrier ship, WhiteKnightTwo, flew about 45 minutes to elevate to 50,000 feet for release of SpaceShipTwo for free flight.


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