Descent ‘feathers’ deployed just before Virgin Galactic space plane’s crash


Originally posted on Gigaom:

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashed Friday after special tail “feathers” meant to increase drag deployed early, BBC reports. One pilot unlocked the feather system, but it then deployed without a command.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is conducting the investigation into the doomed flight, has not yet stated if the feathers caused the crash. On Friday, scrutiny was placed on the never-before-flown mix of fuel Virgin Galactic has used. The Wall Street Journal reported SpaceShipTwo’s fuel tanks and engines were recovered “largely intact,” making an explosion less likely.

“If there was a huge explosion, it didn’t occur, I didn’t see it,” Mojave Spaceport CEO Stuart Witt, who was at the scene during the crash, said at a press conference Friday.

The pilot that died in the crash has since been identified as Michael Alsbury. He was a pilot for Scaled Composites for 13 years. He flew SpaceShipTwo during its first-ever powered flight…

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Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Has Crashed


Originally posted on TechCrunch:

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This morning, Virgin Galactic tweeted that their SpaceShipTwo spaceplane had experienced an “in-flight anomaly”

We have now confirmed that SpaceShipTwo has crashed during a test flight due to currently unknown causes. A press conference is planned with more details at 2 pm pacific.

SpaceShipTwo was designed primarily for space tourism, meant to carry passengers high enough to experience near-weightlessness for roughly $200,000 per ticket. This was a test flight, however, so no passengers are believed to have been onboard.

Update: VirginGalactic confirms the loss of SpaceShipTwo. See timeline below.

WhiteKnightTwo, the jet-powered craft that carries SpaceShipTwo to altitude before detaching, landed safely. At an altitude of roughly 50,000 feet, WhiteKniteTwo releases SpaceShipTwo to fly on its own by rocket power. WK2 had released SpaceShipTwo for free flight roughly 6 minutes before the crash.

There were at least two pilots on board SpaceShipTwo before the crash; their status is unknown. We…

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Updated: Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo space plane crashes with two pilots on board, one killed


Originally posted on Gigaom:

Virgin Galactic‘s SpaceShipTwo crashed during a test flight today over the Mojave Desert of Southern California, resulting in its destruction. One pilot is dead and another seriously injured, officials confirmed at a press conference Friday afternoon.

An ABC report showed the plane in pieces on the ground.

“Space is hard and today was a tough day,” Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said at the press conference. “We are going to be supporting the investigation as we figure out what happened today, and we’re going to get through it. The future rests in many ways on hard days like this. But we…

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‘There was blood everywhere’: Young family describes ‘unimaginable horror’ after surviving Spain train crash


Originally posted on National Post | News:

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As the train sped from Madrid to the town of El Ferrol in north-western Spain, Yesica Medina paced up and down between passengers with her six-week-old daughter in her arms, cradling her child to stop her crying on the long journey home.

Mercifully, the baby finally dropped off to sleep and Yesica returned to her seat in the first-class carriage intending to place baby Teresita in a cot on the seat opposite.

At her side was her husband, Daniel Castro, and across from him sat Carlos, the couple’s seven-year-old son, who was playing with a dinosaur toy he had bought on his first visit to the Spanish capital.

At that instant, the family could have had no idea they were about to be caught up in – and miraculously survive – Spain’s worst rail disaster for almost 70 years.

“At the exact moment I sat down, that exact moment, the…

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