Spaceship Crashes During Test Flight

Although a tragedy, the crash of SpaceShipTwo has not affected the growing excitement of space travel.


Photo Courtesy of The Guardian

Lily Rajaee, Photojournalist

On October 31st, Virgin Galactic sent two pilots to test the much anticipated SaceShipTwo, a spaceship that was designed to ultimately begin taking passengers to space in the near future.

Unfortunately, SpaceShipTwo experienced a serious malfunction during this test flight over the Mojave Desert, California. This spacecraft was loaded with a new, experimental rocket fuel.

Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft exploded miles above the Mojave Desert, leading to the complete destruction of the prototype. As the craft made its ascent, the G-forces pinned the pilots back to their seats. At this point, it is believed that the co-pilot, Mike Alsbury, made a critical mistake when he pulled the spacecraft level at the wrong time.

The pilot, Peter Siebold, miraculously survived the 10-mile fall back to the earth. However, Mike Alsbury died during the terrifying journey of the spacecraft’s descent. His death has understandably created a wave of tragedy amongst the space travel community.

On the other hands, experts say this tragic event will not stop their goal of creating a commercial space service available to tourists. Virgin Galactic has been working towards this goal for many years, leading towards the most recently designed spaceship. They are confident when reassuring individuals that the problems faces during SpaceShipTwo will not happen again. Furthermore, people around the world are still excited about the idea of traveling to outer space as a tourist.

SpaceShipTwo, the newest model of a commercial spaceship, is 60 feet long, featuring two large windows for up to six passengers (one on the side and one overhead). Virgin Galactic sells seats on each prospective journey for $250,000. Celebrities are already signing up for this remarkable journey to space. Stephen Hawking, Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher, and Russell Brand are among the many individuals that are excited to signup for the flights. Virgin Galactic has already taken deposits totaling more than $80 million dollars from about 700 people.

Alongside the great number of people around the world, Mustangs are also intrigued by the idea of commercial flights to space. Nikita Vasoya (10) commented, ” If I was given the opportunity, I would travel to space as a tourist, because I want to know what’s outside of the place we call earth. I think it would be interesting to venture and see the oblivion.

Obviously, the recent tragedy with the test flight of SpaceShipTwo has not suppressed the anticipation and excitement of space travel.