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Full Version: Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashes after ‘anomaly’
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A Virgin Galactic spacecraft intended to carry tourists crashed in the Mojave desert due to an “in-flight anomaly” during a test flight Friday, killing one person, the company said.

The accident, the second this week involving a craft intended for spaceflight, left a trail of debris scattered across the Mojave. It was not known in the immediate aftermath what happened to SpaceShipTwo, but the company said in a statement that “a serious anomaly” had occurred.

“From my eyes and my ears, I detected nothing that appeared abnormal,” Stuart Witt, chief executive of Mojave Air and Space Port, said of the launch during a news conference Friday afternoon. He later added, “If there was a huge explosion that occurred, I didn’t see it.”

The crash was a devastating blow to one of the most high-profile startup space companies, as well as the other people involved in working on such flights.

“We are human. And it hurts,” Witt said.

First responders on the scene found the aircraft “in several different pieces,” said Donny Youngblood, sheriff of Kern County, during the same news conference. They found one person who was declared dead at the scene, and another who had suffered “major injuries” and was taken to Antelope Valley Hospital, he said.

The disaster occurred shortly after 10 a.m., when SpaceShipTwo separated from White Knight Two, which was carrying the vehicle into the air, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

“We’re going to get through it,” George Whitesides, chief executive of Virgin Galactic, said during the news conference. “The future rests in many ways on hard, hard days like this. But we believe we owe it to the folks who were flying these vehicle as well as the folks who’ve been working so hard on them to understand this and to move forward, which is what we’ll do.”
AdvertisementRichard Branson, who founded Virgin Galactic in 2004, posted on Twitter that he would be flying to Mojave:
The problem with capitalism is that it depends upon possession. Privately owned corporations that are trying to develop technologies have to do it in isolation from one another, so they cannot learn from each others' mistakes, and they certainly can't learn from each others' successes (Because those are "protected" by patent and copyright). Consolidating them into one company only makes matters worse, because corporations' primary design characteristic is that they must earn more than other corporations.
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