Virgin Galactic’s space plane crashes during test flight

“#SpaceShipTwo has experienced an in-flight anomaly. Additional info and statement forthcoming.”

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and WhiteKnightTwo earlier today.

Credit: VirginGalactic

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo has crashed during a test flight near its spaceport in the Mojave Desert today.

Details are sketchy at this point but Virgin Galactic tweeted one of those cryptic notices you never want to see: “#SpaceShipTwo has experienced an in-flight anomaly. Additional info and statement forthcoming.”

+More on Network World: Quick look: America’s first spaceport+

There are typically two pilots onboard during test flights but their fates are unclear at this point. The mission goes like this: SpaceShipTwo is flown into suborbital space onboard its mothership, WhiteKnightTwo and released where it can rocket into suborbital space for a short time before it glides back to Earth. The WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft landed safely.

A news conference is slated for this afternoon.

Virgin Galactic had hoped to begin its suborbital passenger flights sometime next year. Virgin Galactic says that more than 700 customers have paid as much as $250,000 for a ride on the SpaceShipTwo.

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