02 December 2014 News

SpaceShipTwo lost

Manufactured by Scaled Composites at its Mojave, California base, a SpaceShip -Two rocketplane crashed during a test flight on 31 October 2014 , with the tragic death of co-pilot Michael Alsbury. While pilot Peter Siebold escaped by parachute with only moderate injuries, sub-orbit space tourism company Virgin Galactic (VG) now faces a year-long wait, with the detailed accident investigation work being conducted by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Preliminary NTSB investigations indicate that the aircraft’s re-entry wingboom feathering system incorrectly deployed itself within 10 seconds of the rocket engine being ignited, following a drop from the WhiteKnightTwo mother ship at 45,000 ft and accelerating to a speed of over Mach 1. VG is currently working on the second production model 339 SS2 spacecraft, which is due for completion in mid- 2015. It then hopes to press ahead with further launch, testing to sub-orbit heights of over 100 km in 2015.

Popular articles

Popular articles

Medic on Mars by artist Phil Smith. Astronautics

Planning for health, sex and sleep on a future Mars colony

Space Security

World needs strong space governance system

An artistic interpretation of orbital tracks for satellites in a mega constellation by artist Zoe Squires (see p108). Special Reports

Mega-challenges for mega-constellations