[Blabber] Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo explodes mid-flight, pilot dead, copilot seriously injured

Nickolai Belakovski via Blabber blabber at list.hackmanhattan.com
Fri Oct 31 23:23:01 UTC 2014


It's a bad week for spaceflight.

Virgin Galactic performed a flight test of their main vehicle SpaceShipTwo
earlier today. The test was a powered test flight using a new fuel
formulation in the same motor they had used for the 3 previous powered
flights.

It's unclear exactly when it happened, but there was an in-flight anomaly
after release and motor ignition, and the vehicle broke apart mid-flight.
NBC managed to capture some photos of the breakup.
https://twitter.com/NBCNightlyNews/status/528313319195938816

Of the two pilots, one was greeted by emergency personnel after landing
under parachute, and was taken by helicopter to a local hospital. The other
pilot was found with the debris.

NASAspaceflight has a good article summing up the day's events:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/10/virgin-galactics-spaceshiptwo-fails-test-flight/

There have been concerns about VG's engine for years, which VG has never
fully addressed. I imagine we'll hear a lot about it in the coming
days/weeks/months.

The development of SpaceShipTwo is a story which I have been following for
over 10 years, so if anyone has any questions about the history of the
development or the technology involved, I'll probably be able to answer it,
so ask away. Maybe I could do a talk about it....

-- 
Nickolai Belakovski
Purdue University : Class of Dec. 2011
School of Aeronautics & Astronautics
Department of Mathematics
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