Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes: 1 Dead, 1 Injured

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in space on (#2TVB)
story imageVirgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo was destroyed during a powered test flight today in Mojave, CA. This was the fourth powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo. There were two pilots on board the craft. Local law enforcement agencies have confirmed that one of the pilots was killed during the accident and the other was able to parachute from the craft, but was injured and had to be flown to a nearby hospital.

This test flight was the first for a new kind of fuel—a plastic similar to nylon. Previously, SpaceShipTwo had used a synthetic rubber fuel, one that had been giving engineers trouble for years as they tried to scale up the successful 3-seat SpaceShipOne prototype, which won the X Prize in 2004, to a much bigger vehicle using the same hybrid rocket design and fuel, and meant to carry tourists to suborbital space.

We’re left to wonder what impact the accident will have on the nascent commercial spaceflight industry, which Branson has been working hard to characterize as safe. Friday’s crash is a stark reminder that spaceflight is an inherently risky endeavor.
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