Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashed during its test flight shortly after separation from transport vehicle WhiteKnightTwo (scroll for video). The accident, which emerged above the Mojave Desert, occurred due to a “serious anomaly”, the company said.
A Virgin Galactic spacecraft designed and built for space tourism crashed during a test flight in California on Friday. Following impact, one person died and another was seriously injured, according to NBC News. The victims are believed to be the pilots of the plane.
SpaceShipTwo cabin accommodated two pilots who were equipped with parachutes and ejection gears. According to witnesses, parachutes were seen around the Mojave Air Space Port base in California, where the spatial vehicle took off.
Virgin Galactic has struggled for long to promote trips in which SpaceShipTwo takes passengers about 100 kilometers up above Earth – near the edge of space – and lets them enjoy some moments of anti-gravity before getting back to ground.
“Virgin Galactic’s partner Scaled Composites carried out a powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo earlier today. During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle,” according to a statement released by Virgin Galactic. “…We will collaborate closely with the authorities to find out the cause of the accident and deliver updates as soon as we are able to do so.”
Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic
The tragic crash seems to cause delay in Sir Richard Branson‘s dream of flying humans to the limit of the outer space. As for the company, wikipedia writes that “Virgin Galactic is a British commercial spaceflight corporation part of the Virgin Group with plans to deliver suborbital space trips to space tourists, suborbital launches for space science missions, and orbital launches of small satellites. Further in the future, Virgin Galactic intends to provide also orbital human spaceflights. Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft “Space Ship Two” is air deployed from a “partner” mother ship and launch-platform airplane named “White Knight Two”.
This incident comes just three days after Orbital Sciences Rocket Antares exploded dramatically during liftoff destroying its Cygnus Spacecraft and NASA’s cargo. The mission had aimed at supplying food and equipment to the International Space Station ISS.
Video: Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo space place crashes