Sad news from Virgin Galactic’s Mojave Air and Space Port this afternoon as details emerged of a fatal crash during the latest test flight of the SpaceshipTwo rocket plane:
[Blogger] Doug Messier wrote on Twitter that he witnessed the crash from Jawbone Station, which is on a ridge overlooking the desert where the craft crashed. “We saw the twin contrails of WhiteKnightTwo overhead. They do that prior to a drop,” he tweeted. “SpaceShipTwo dropped. From what I could tell, motor fired and then stopped then fired again. I think that’s what happened.
Messier reported that clouds made it hard to see clearly, but it appeared that SpaceShipTwo “broke apart and started coming down in pieces over the desert.” He added: “We started seeing clouds of dirt where pieces of the ship came down. One after another. At least three.” Messier reported then driving to one of the debris sites. “Debris from the ship was scattered all over the road,” he said.
This is a stark reminder of just how dangerous space flight can be, even sub-orbital space flight. We take so much for granted these days, even when it comes to going into space. In reality, all who fly high enough to see the blackness of space above them should still be regarded as Space Age pioneers.
Condolences to the family and friends of the pilot who died.