Virgin Galactic Spaceship Two Crashed

Damn, not a good week for space exploration. Phone Post 3.0

During a test flight over the Mojave Desert today, Virgin Galactic’s spaceship suffered a “serious anomaly” and crashed.

Two pilots were on board the plane, as is typical during test flights, and media reports claim that one parachute was seen on the ground. The California Highway Patrol is reporting one fatality, according to the AP.

Photos posted on social media show a significant debris field with parts of the plane scattered across the desert.

What’s happening now?
Local authorities from the Kern County Fire Department are conducting search and rescue operations. Virgin Galactic issued a terse statement saying it “will work closely with relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident” and promised to provide updates soon.

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson is en route to Mojave and the FAA said in a statement that it is investigating the incident. Phone Post 3.0

This was the 55th flight for SpaceShipTwo and the 35th time the vehicle flew on its own, detaching from the airplane that carries it airborne. It was only the fourth time SpaceShipTwo had actually fired its on-board rocket, and the first test flight for a new polyamide-based rocket fuel—effectively a plastic-based fuel rather than the rubber-based fuel that had been used previously.

Joel Glenn Brenner, a journalist speaking on CNN today, said that the SpaceShipTwo rocket engine appeared to have burned for two seconds after ignition and then stopped in what appears to have been a hard start. The vehicle engine then restarted and exploded.

The mothership, WhiteKnightTwo, landed safely following the incident. Phone Post 3.0

Shit, just saw that someone posted this already. Let this one sink Phone Post 3.0