NBC affiliate KGET reports that Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo has crashed.. The report follows earlier information from Virgin Galactic directly that SpaceShipTwo, which has been undergoing testing ahead of commercial flights, had suffered some sort of in-flight failure during a planned test scheduled for today. The spacecraft, which launches from the larger WhiteKnightTwo after traveling to cruise altitude similar to a normal airplane, was flying for the first time in several months.
Parabolicarc.com, which had been livetweeting the flight, reports that SpaceShipTwo “came down in pieces” after exploding in mid-air. Two crew members reportedly ejected and California Highway Patrol reports 1 fatality, 1 major injury.
BREAKING: California Highway Patrol reports 1 fatality, 1 major injury after SpaceShipTwo accident.
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 31, 2014
In a statement, the company says
“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, which is unknown at this time. We will work closely with relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident and provide updates ASAP.”