Virgin Galactic spaceship crashes

2014-10-31 21:07
British billionaire Richard Branson poses for the photographers in the window of a replica of the Virgin Galactic, which according to the company will be the world’s first commercial spaceline. (Lefteris Pitarakis, AP)

British billionaire Richard Branson poses for the photographers in the window of a replica of the Virgin Galactic, which according to the company will be the world’s first commercial spaceline. (Lefteris Pitarakis, AP) (Lefteris Pitarakis)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Canaveral - 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, officials said.

Two pilots were aboard the spaceship, which was undergoing its first powered test flight since January. It was not immediately known if they were able to parachute to safety.

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 100 km high, 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. In May, Virgin Galactic and spaceship developer Scaled Composites, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, switched to an alternative plastic-type of fuel grain for the hybrid rocket motor.

The accident is the second this week by a US space company. On Tuesday, an Orbital Sciences Antares rocket exploded 15 seconds after lift-off from Wallops Island, Virginia, destroying a cargo ship bound for the International Space Station.

AFP is reporting one pilot was killed and another seriously injured when the Virgin Galactic spaceship crashed in the desert a spokesperson for the California Highway Patrol said.

The injured pilot was taken to hospital, the spokesperson told AFP after the accident that left debris from the commercial edge-of-space craft scattered across the desert near Mojave.

Read more on:    virgin galactic  |  richard branson  |  us  |  space

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
13 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.

 
 

You won't want to miss...

6 myths about male cancer
Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.