Virgin Galactic says space tourism rocket lost, one pilot dead
MOJAVE, Calif. (AP) – Virgin Galactic reported that its SpaceShipTwo space tourism rocket has been lost in Southern California. One pilot has died and the other pilot has suffered major injuries.
The company tweeted Friday: “During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of SpaceShipTwo.”
The company founded by British billionaire Richard Branson would not say what happened other that it was working with authorities to determine the cause of the “accident.”
Kern County Fire Department reported it was heading to a location in the Mojave Desert. California Highway Patrol Officer Darlena Dotson said the agency was responding to a report of a crash in the Cantil area.
Virgin Galactic has been the front-runner in the fledgling space-tourism industry. SpaceShipTwo, typically flown by a crew of two pilots, has been under development in the desert northeast of Los Angeles.