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Friday, October 31, 2014

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes...One Dead

MOJAVE (CBSLA.com) — One person was killed and another seriously injured when an aircraft used by Virgin Galactic for space travel experimentation encountered a problem Friday during testing, the California Highway Patrol confirmed.
SpaceShipTwo, carried by carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo, launched at 9:19 a.m. from a location in the Mojave Desert, according to officials from the company, which is owned by British billionaire Sir Richard Branson...continue

UPDATE...According to Kern County Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt, it was the, so far unnamed, co-pilot who was killed in the crash. The pilot ejected from the craft and was found at the scene and taken to the area hospital with unknown injuries. 

*Space tourism suffers major setback experts predict...article

The privatization of space travel is a hazardous environment that regardless of the best of planning and caution, is fraught with danger. SpaceX has been incredibly good at what they do and lucky so far. They dodged the bullet on one flight when an engine shut down and vented with enough velocity to blow out a chunk of the housing, limping into a lower then desired orbit but able to reach the ISS with cargo. This week has demonstrated once again that disaster can and will unfortunately happen to all who operate in this dangerous profession. Like SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Orbital Sciences, who`s rocket also exploded this week, had mostly stellar records. The US and Russian space programs have suffered their share of tragic events in the field of space exploration and the fledgling commercial companies have learned this lesson lately that they are not immune to the same realities.