MOJAVE, Calif. - One of the two pilots onboard Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo died when the aircraft they were piloting experienced an anomaly and crashed during a test flight in the Mojave Desert Friday morning.
The plane took off from White Knight 2 at 10:07 a.m. Friday, and Virgin Galactic reported that SpaceShip Two was under rocket power.
Ignition! #SpaceShipTwo is flying under rocket power again. Stay tuned for updates.— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) October 31, 2014
Virgin Galactic reported via Twitter that SpaceShip Two started flying and roughly six minutes after the release, they experienced some type of problem.
UPDATE:Virgin Galactic's partner Scaled Composites conducted a powered test flight of #SpaceShipTwo earlier today. (1 of 4)— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) October 31, 2014
They explained that during the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of SpaceShipTwo and that WK2 landed safely.
During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of SpaceShipTwo. WK2 landed safely. (2 of 4)— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) October 31, 2014
We will work closely with relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident and provide updates ASAP. (4 of 4)— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) October 31, 2014
#SpaceShipTwo has experienced an in-flight anomaly. Additional info and statement forthcoming.— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) October 31, 2014
Officials with the Kern County Fire Department were sent to the area of Cantil and Garlock roads at about 10:30 a.m.
Officials said that two people were onboard the spaceship and officials reported that one parachute was seen on the ground.
At about 10:50 a.m. a Black Hawk helicopter was sent to the area to search.
SpaceShipTwo uses all the same basic technology, carbon composite construction and design as SpaceShipOne. However it is around twice as large as that vehicle and will carry six passengers and two pilots, according to Virgin Galactic's website.
Mojave Air and Spaceport is about 61 miles southeast of Bakersfield.
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