October 31, 2014 4:35 pm -

The explosion happened in the California’s Mojave desert. One pilot, who ejected, was injured and the other was killed.


A suborbital passenger spaceship being developed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic crashed during a test flight on Friday at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, the company said.

“During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of SpaceShipTwo,” the company said in a tweet, adding: “We will work closely with relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident and provide updates ASAP.”…

More than 800 people have paid or put down deposits to fly aboard the spaceship, which is carried to an altitude of about 45,000 feet and released. The spaceship then fires its rocket motor to catapult it to about 62 miles (100 km) above Earth, giving passengers a view of the planet set against the blackness of space and a few minutes of weightlessness…

The spaceship is based on a prototype, called SpaceShipOne, which 10 years ago won the $10 million Ansari X Prize for the first privately developed manned spacecraft to fly in space.

Friday’s test was to be the spaceship’s first powered test flight since January.[su_csky_ad]

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

15 responses to One Pilot Killed, One Injured In Virgin Galactic Spacecraft Explosion

  1. Khary A October 31st, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    As troubling as this is, i hope that the drive to touch the stars does not abate.

    • fahvel November 1st, 2014 at 4:41 am

      feed the locals first and educate all the stupid and keep them all healthy -then go fly away.

      • rg9rts November 1st, 2014 at 5:50 am

        Start with the gopee

  2. Guy Lauten October 31st, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    These two recent ‘anomalies’ should serve to remind us all that this stuff is not easy. Nobody has a manual on how to do this; we are writing it as we go. The knowledge and experience required to advance beyond our boundaries has always required occasional disaster. If we learn from it, their sacrifices are not in vain. Some very brave people, I must say.

    • Roctuna October 31st, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      Guy, I beg to differ. The manual has been written. Man has traveled to space for over 50 years. Both the US and Russia have rockets that have flown reliably for generations. China and India are compiling similar track records. I’d bet good money we’ll find out that the explosion of the Antares rocket earlier this week and this crash, will come down to mechanical failures related to substandard manufacture of a component or components. Sub-orbital flight and near-earth orbit just aren’t like travel to Mars or other destinations where the unknows are more numerous. All that being said, if I had the money, I’d put a down payment on a flight myself.

      • tiredoftea October 31st, 2014 at 7:39 pm

        I was going to reply in much the same way. I think i’t more correct to say that the manual is being re-written as the private space flight business proves itself.

        NASA and the astronaut program was justifiably over built towards safety. The private industry has all of that experience, including the source code that NASA produced, plus the benefit of current technology and materials. The new manual has a way to go, as we saw earlier today and this week.

  3. Jones October 31st, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Tragic, progress is not without risks.

    • fahvel November 1st, 2014 at 4:39 am

      where are they progressing to??

      • rg9rts November 1st, 2014 at 5:49 am

        To get away from here before it’s completely trashed..

      • Jones November 1st, 2014 at 1:30 pm

        The same things the Wright brothers were progressing toward. Not to mention all the spinoff benefits from advancing space technologies.

  4. Obewon October 31st, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    This week gravity defeated an experimental pilot and ate two spaceships: SpaceShipTwo and an Antares rocket built and launched by Orbital Sciences.

    • tiredoftea October 31st, 2014 at 7:40 pm

      Not gravity, engineering and manufacturing defeated them.

      • fahvel November 1st, 2014 at 4:39 am


  5. ChrisVosburg November 1st, 2014 at 12:30 am

    the spaceship, which is carried to an altitude of about 45,000 feet and released. The spaceship then fires its rocket motor to catapult it to about 62 miles (100 km) above Earth,

    No, it doesn’t, and never has. No Virgin Galactic Aircraft has ever flown above 71,000 feet.

    Condolences to the family of the pilot and co-pilot for their loss and injury, but I need to set something straight here. Richard Branson is not a serious player in the spacefaring industry, and his dilettantish holiday tour crap is an irritant to those of us who are serious about honest-ta-gawd space travel..

    Sir Richard, since 2008, has announced every few months that the maiden voyage is coming up in a year or two, and then unexpected delays crop up and the date is pushed back, again and again and again, year after year after year. Repeatedly, thrust estimates are found to be wildly below estimates, designs do not deliver, and again, 10 years in, the most the Virgin Galactic craft can do is achieve an additional 30 thousand foot when released by the carrier aircraft at 45 or 50 thousand feet.

    Again they are not even shooting for Low Earth Orbit, or to do anything useful, they just want to, with a busload of wealthy tourists, briefly touch what is considered the edge of space, the arbitrary 100 kilometer boundary where Earth’s atmosphere dissipates, and they aren’t even close to being technologically able to do that.

    The Wikipedia entry for Virgin Galactic has details, and I especially commend you to the section detailing space flights actually made– it’s appalling.

  6. rg9rts November 1st, 2014 at 5:48 am

    Flight is a risky business…that has not changed since Icarus