Virgin Galactic, the rocket ship owned by Richard Branson on which many celebrities had planned to blast off into space, crashed this afternoon in California’s Mojave Desert.
Reports indicate that one co-pilot died in the accident, while others were seriously injured and at least one individual airlifted to a local hospital.
Reads a statement released by Virgin:
“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 the vehicle.”
The names of those on board at the time of the accident have not been released.
Branson confirmed the tragedy on Twitter, writing:
“Thoughts with all @virgingalactic & Scaled, thanks for all your messages of support. I’m flying to Mojave immediately to be with the team.”
Virgin Galactic had planned for years to sell trips in which the vehicle transports passengers approximately 62 miles above Earth, allowing them to experience a few minutes of weightlessness before returning to ground.
In June of last year, Justin Bieber said that he and manager Scooter Braun had signed on to take one of the $250,000-a-person commercial suborbital flights, even claiming he would love to film a video in space.
Also, Lady Gaga had said she hoped to board a Virgin Galactic flight in 2015 and perform a song as part of the Zero G Colony music festival.
Weather does not appear to have been a factor in today’s crash, as the rocket had successfully separated from its carrier plane during all of its 34 previous flights.
Our thoughts go out to the victims on board.
Here is the original post:
Virgin Galactic Crashes in California Desert, Kills Co-Pilot