Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Crash: 1 Pilot Dead, 1 Injured

Posted: Nov 1 2014, 8:30am CDT | by , Updated: Nov 1 2014, 8:41am CDT, in News | Also on the Geek Mind


Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Crash: 1 Pilot Dead, 1 Injured
Cory Bergman Twitter ‏@corybe
  • The Virgin Galactic's Space Ship Two crashes in its test run.
  • One of the two pilots died in the crash.
  • The other one was injured and admitted for medical care.

Virgin Galactic suffers with the new aircraft crash, deaths and injuries. Virgin Galactic will launch an investigation.

Celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber along with other space enthusiasts paid a big amount to Virgin Galactic company for a ticket to explore the world. Virgin Galactic launched its new aircraft design and started its development. The design consisted of two conjoined airplanes, hybrid engine and plastic based fuel to increase efficiency. The flight was announced to launch its first flight sometime next year.

The new SpaceShipTwo had its first test flight on Friday. It launched from the Mojave base into the air. The initial flight was successful until the spaceship was attached to its White Knight carrier. As soon as the spaceship detached and fired its hybrid engine, the ship plummeted and after about two spins, crashed near the base i.e. a little north of Los Angeles. 

The tragedy claimed the life of one of the pilots while the other pilot parachuted away from the crash. He has been admitted Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, California. The authorities were quick to assess and control the damage. Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood and Kern County Deputy Fire Chief Michael Cody reported the damage and situation of the incident to the press. 

"Virgin Galactic's partner Scaled Composites conducted a powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo earlier today. During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle. The WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft landed safely," Virgin Galactic wrote in an official statement.

"The Virgin Galactic team is cooperating with our partners at Scaled Composites and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as well as local authorities. We understand that the NTSB is scheduled to arrive in Mojave tomorrow morning (Saturday Nov. 1) to commence their investigation, which is expected to last several days."

"Local authorities have confirmed that one of the two Scaled Composites pilots died during the accident. The other pilot parachuted to the ground and is being treated at a local hospital. All of us at Virgin Galactic are deeply saddened by today’s events. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all those affected by this accident."

Virgin Galactic and Mojave Airspace base are tensed. The pilots worked for the Mojave-based Scaled Composites and the aviation squad is shocked with the death of one of their own. The company representative said that these testing times bring the community together. 

The Virgin Galactic CEO, George Whitesides, said that it was a tragedy and the companies had a bad day. He assured the press that a full investigation would be held to assess what happened. 

“Our primary thoughts at this moment are with the crew and family, and we’re doing everything we can for them now. I’d like to recognize the work of the first responders who we work with in the Antelope Valley for their efforts on behalf of the team. We’re also thinking of the team members that we have at the companies that have been working on this program,” George said in a statement.

“Space is hard and today was a tough day. We are going to be supporting the investigation as we figure out what happened today. We’re going to get through it. The future rests in many ways on hard days like this, but we believe we owe it to the team, that has been working so hard on this endeavor, to understand this and to move forward. And that is what we’ll do.”

Sir Richard Branson wrote in his blog, “I am writing this as we refuel on one of the most difficult trips I have ever had to make. I will be in Mojave soon to join the Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composite teams involved in the SpaceShipTwo flight test program. Mojave is also where I want to be – with the dedicated and hard-working people who are now in shock at this devastating loss.”

“We will cooperate fully with all the authorities involved in the investigation, and share more information when possible. For now, I want to reiterate our thanks to everyone from within the space community and beyond who has sent their overwhelming messages of love and support.”

NASA commented on the incident in words: “While not a NASA mission, the pain of this tragedy will be felt by all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploration. Space flight is incredibly difficult, and we commend the passion of all in the space community who take on risk to push the boundaries of human achievement.”

Virgin Galactic CEO also said, “We owe it to the folks who were flying these vehicles, as well as those who’ve been working so hard on them, to understand this and to move forward. And that is what we’ll do.”

Whitesides said that they owe it to the people whose hard work was ruined today and especially to the pilots and their families who sustained heavy losses today. This will definitely be a step back in the air space exploration but this incident may also insure safer and better travels that may not cause insufferable damage or harm.

Source: BBC, NBCNews

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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