- National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart revealed the results of the investigations.
- In a press conference he admitted that the incident has been tragic.
The founder of Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson said that as soon as the cause of the crash is found the project will continue.
Virgin Galactic which is owned by Branson’s Virgin Group and Aabar Investments PJS of Abu Dhabi, faced a tragedy the past Friday when the SpaceShip Two which design was inspired by the aerospace design maverick Burt Rutan’s award-winning SpaceShipOne prototype, crashed near the Mojave Airbase after it detached from its carrier.
The debris of the plane fell in the desert near the airbase as witnessed Ken Brown, an on-scene photographer who documented the SpaceShipTwo crash. the tragedy became worse as one of the pilots’ body was found inside the crashed aircraft while the other managed to parachute in the nock of time. He was also put on his way to the County hospital on a helicopter, reported by Sheriff Youngblood.
National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart moved to the scene of the tragedy to investigate the causes of the crash. He admitted in a press conference at the Mojave Air and Space Port that this was the first tragedy in his career involving human life loss.
They had investigated the Columbus and Challenger space shuttle disasters but the SpaceShip Two was the first commercial space craft that they will be investigating. He told the press that the spacecraft details are usually well documented and they will find out what went wrong after making detailed inquiries and interviews.
Keeping true to their word, A. Hart recently came forward with the cause of the crash. Early deployment of the Feathering system was said to be the cause of this tragedy. According to experts, the space shuttle has to detach at from its carrier and deploy the feathering system which allows the craft to stay parallel until correct altitude and velocity is achieved before they return to their original position.
The feathering system had to be deployed at 1.4 Mach speed to function properly. The pilots deployed the system at 1.O Mach speed which caused it to deteriorate and the craft failed to attain the thrust to go into orbit. The test flight was designed to go to 10 miles to check its function but the original plan is for the craft to attain 62 miles to orbit the Earth’s radius.
Hart exempted the hybrid engine design and the plastic based fuel for being the cause of the crash. he said that the engine thrust was functioning properly when the crash happened. The crash happened 50 minutes after take off and within minutes of detachment from the mothership.
Richard Branson also addressed the media following the announcement of the investigation. He said that the crash marked a very tragic event in the history of the company. He said that they expected the first commercial flight to take off next spring and he intended to be the first passenger along with his son.
The 60 feet long spacecraft would allow six or more passengers to see at the Earth form space and experience weightlessness. The founder of the company said that as soon as they find out the cause of the crash, they will continue with the work they have been doing and launch the first commercial flight into space.
The company has pre-sold tickets to the first flight at $250,000 to Stephen Hawking, Ashton Kutcher, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Russell Brandt and Ken Baxter. Baxter said that it was just a hitch and he could not wait to go to space with Richard Branson. Hopefully, Virgin Galactic will make manage to make a quick recovery and launch a new era of space travel.