back to article Virgin Galactic vows to continue space program after 'serious anomaly'

Both Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites have vowed to continue the private exploration of space after Friday's crash that destroyed SpaceShipTwo, claimed the life of one pilot, and severely wounded another. SpaceShipTwo SpaceShipTwo at takeoff this morning "Space is hard, and today was a tough day. We are going to be …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    From the photos it's a miracle that one person survived.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Sad

      Indeed. I remember one rare event when the human cost of the Russian space programme became clear. When the Buran flew in 1988, there were official awards given to the project crew. While Soviet News were usually quite good in "damage mitigation" on that occasion they forgot to remove the black ribbon off half of the photographs of the test pilots (more than half of the awards were given post-mortem).

      1. Gordan

        Re: Sad

        I thought Buran was fully unmanned. It was designed so it could take a crew, but the only flight was carried out on full auto-pilot (including landing), with the cockpit controls not even installed.

  2. Mark 85


    Hard to tell from two pics if the craft broke up or the motor blew. Either way, I'm surprised even one crewman survived it. When things go to hell at that speed and altitude, it's bad news.

    Both men are in my thoughts tonite. I'll silently raise one to salute the fallen co-pilot and also the injured man.. This is terrible news.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In space

    No-one can hear you go: "oh shit oh shit oh shit"

    Alright, it wasn't space, but you know what I mean. :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In space

      At least one doesn't have to go down to the reactor room to disable the security interlocks.

      What, too soon?

  4. Da Weezil

    The price of mans curiosity about what is "out there" can be high. Luckily for mankind there are some brave enough to risk having to pay it. They are the modern pioneers, and deserve much respect.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      curiosity about what is "out there" can be high

      And there are always people ready for the "die trying" parts, always people who would risk their life to be the first to succeed.

      The longest journeys begin with the first step

      Their lives are not given in vain, and they are definitely braver than the other sheep in the flock who mock their failures but profit from their successes

      RIP their brave souls

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No video out there, these days?

    I just wanted to check it wasn't taken out by some ground system for entering controlled airspace with a full shampoo bottle.

    In the real world - Sympathies to the families of those pilots, fast recovery to the guy who got out.

  6. heyrick Silver badge

    Alternative propulsion?

    Ever since we have been going "up", we have done so by attaching a craft of some sort to a bloody great rocket. What rockets are and what they do mean that they are significantly less reliable than, say, aircraft engines. Just the other day (after the other rocket failure), people there were trying to downplay the problem by suggesting that a one in twenty failure rate was not unexpected. As we have seen in both cases this week, when they fail they fail dramatically.

    This makes me wonder - are there any up and coming forms of propulsion that are likely to be powerful enough to defeat gravity, that don't depend upon an atmosphere, and aren't an attempt to control an explosion?

    1. rwbthatisme

      Re: Alternative propulsion?

      Yup a rail gun should work, not that you would be able to stand the acceleration. It's very sad that there was an accident and hope they can regroup and carry on

    2. Zack Mollusc

      Re: Alternative propulsion?

      You could survive the acceleration in my patent 'unfeasibly long' railgun.

    3. Vince Lewis 1

      Re: Alternative propulsion?

      This shows your misunderstanding of Virgin Galactic's craft.

      Firstly it does use more traditional and energy efficient aeronautics to get the spaceship up the first part of the journey.

      Secondly SS2's rocket is different to those used in normal rockets

      1. Elmer Phud

        Re: Alternative propulsion?

        Thirdly -- it doesn't go into space.

        It's merely a joyride for the well-heeled.

        Club Class all the way!

    4. Elmer Phud

      Re: Alternative propulsion?

      " What rockets are and what they do mean that they are significantly less reliable than, say, aircraft engines. "


      Didn't you know that Branson is the 'Green Saviour of the Universe'?

      He gets told it everyday by politicians et al who stay on one of his islands.

      We ain't that sort of 'green'.

    5. nuclearstar

      Re: Alternative propulsion?

      The best thing on the horizon is probably a space elevator. I would say that would still be 30-50 years away. Unless something magical happens with carbon nanotubes in the next 5-10 years then we will all probably be OAP's by the time a relatively safe method of commercial space flight becomes available.

      I would probably hope to take some sort of space flight in my retirement, so that 30-50 years would fit in to my time frame.

    6. itzman

      Re: Alternative propulsion?

      in a total vacuum it has to be a reaction type engine and there you are trading off safety with energy density...

      below that a scramjet type arrangement may work to get to serious suborbital speeds.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i suppose a refund is out of the question?

    is what tom hanks is thinking after seeing photos 3 and 4

  8. Winty

    This is horrific, I really feel for the families of those pilots. You have my very deepest sympathies. But, please, keep trying .... ad astra.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wonder how many Billionares will attend the Pilots funeral?

    Could be the 'Social Event' of the year?

  10. AIBailey

    Am I the only one...

    ... that looks at the second picture and is immediately reminded of Capcom's "1942"?

  11. Tim Brummer

    The wing feather system deployed prematurely during boost instead of re-entry. The resulting adverse air loads on the stabilizers caused them to break off and the ship started to tumble, you can see it going backwards in one picture with the stabilizers detached. This is also why the stabilizers are located some distance away from the main wreckage.

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