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Space and Physics

Investigators Announce The Cause Of Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Crash

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Morenike Adebayo

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clockJul 31 2015, 17:58 UTC
1429 Investigators Announce The Cause Of Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Crash
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo during its third powered flight. Virgin Galactic.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced this week the exact cause of the unfortunate spacecraft crash of the VSS Enterprise, which happened in October last year.

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Manufactured by The Spaceship Company, a company owned by Virgin Galactic, the VSS Enterprise was one of five planned SpaceShipTwo spacecrafts intended for space tourism.

The NTSB is an independent Federal agency, which investigates all transport accidents within the United States.

While a preliminary investigation suggested the ship's descent mechanism had been released too early, the NTSB ruled this week that the crash was caused by structural failure after co-pilot Peter Siebold unlocked the braking system 14 seconds too early.

The aerodynamic forces acting upon the spacecraft caused the brakes to be engaged, breaking the spacecraft apart midair over the Mojave Desert.

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Pilot Michael Alsbury died in the crash, but the parachute of co-pilot Siebold automatically activated about 4.26 kilometers (14,000 feet) in the air, allowing him to descend back to Earth and survive with only a serious shoulder injury.

 

 

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[H/T: BBC]


Space and Physics
  • Virgin Galactic,

  • SpaceShipTwo,

  • space tourism,

  • vss enterprise

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