(MOJAVE, Calif.) — One person died and another suffered a major injury after Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo spacecraft crashed in California’s Mojave Desert on Friday.
California Highway Patrol confirmed the fatality and the injury, but did not specify the individuals involved.
Virgin Galactic confirmed the “in-flight anomaly” and said that its first concern was the safety of its pilots.
“Virgin Galactic’s partner Scaled Composites conducted a powered test flight of #SpaceShipTwo earlier today,” the company tweeted.
SpaceShipTwo was destroyed after it separated from its mother ship, White Knight Two, the company said.
“During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of SpaceShipTwo. WK2 landed safely,” according to the company. “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,” the company added.
Virgin Galactic, part of British billionaire Richard Branson’s group of companies, has announced plans to operate a fleet of SpaceShipTwo vehicles for private sub-orbital flights.
This is the second space mission to end catastrophically this week.
On Tuesday, an Antares rocket produced by Orbital Sciences exploded seconds after liftoff in Virginia while on a NASA-contracted supply mission to the International Space Station.
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