It is believed that one person has died and another was injured in the crash today of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, a California Highway Patrol official said.
The crash site is near Redrock Randsburg and Cantil roads in Cantil, California (see a map, below), the official told us. It wasn't clear exactly what time the crash was reported, she said. The CHP was working traffic control in the area.
In a statement Virgin Galactic said its partner, Scaled Composites, was conducting a test flight when the accident occurred:
During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle. The WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft landed safely. 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 as soon as we are able to do so.
It would appear that with one dead and one injured, one pilot survived.
The crash happened about 25 miles northeast of Mojave Air and Space Port, at which the testing was apparently based.
Virgin Galactic plans to launch tourist-focused commercial space flight next year.
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UPDATE at 1:08 p.m: Here's the FAA's statement on the crash:
Just after 10 a.m. PDT today, ground controllers at the Mojave Spaceport lost contact with SpaceShipTwo, an experimental space flight vehicle. The incident occurred over the Mojave Desert shortly after the space flight vehicle separated from WhiteKnightTwo, the vehicle that carried it aloft. Two crew members were on board SpaceShipTwo at the time of the incident. WhiteKnightTwo remained airborne after the incident. The FAA is investigating.