Pilot dies in Virgin rocket crash

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Published: Friday 31st October 2014 by The News Editor

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One pilot has died and another is seriously injured after a rocket belonging to billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism venture crashed during a test flight , US authorities said.

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket came down in the Mojave Desert in California.

An eyewitness reported that the craft expl oded in flight after ignition.

A company spokesman said the rocket had ” suffered a serious anomaly”.

California Highway Patrol said one person was dead and another had suffered a major injury. The rocket is usually flown by two pilots.

SpaceShipTwo has been under development at Mojave Air and Spaceport.

It was designed to be carried into the air by the WhiteKnightTwo jet and then released before igniting its rocket to travel into space, before returning to Earth as a glider.

A Virgin Galactic spokesman said: “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 SpaceShipTwo. WhiteKnightTwo landed safely.

“Our first concern is the status of the pilots.”

He added: ” We will work closely with relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident and provide updates as soon as possible.”

Photographer Ken Brown said he saw SpaceShipTwo get released from WhiteKnightTwo but explode after its rocket motor was ignited.

Published: Friday 31st October 2014 by The News Editor

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