Follow-up: Virgin Galactic spacecraft crash

Investigators said they have recovered nearly all the main pieces of SpaceShipTwo

rtr4cedc
Credit: Reuters

When the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crashed last week it took with it the life of one pilot and likely delayed for a long time the advent of potential space tourism.

 In news today the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said that it appeared the lever that controls the SpaceShipTwo’s deceleration system might have been deployed too soon. How or if that caused the crash is unknown at this point.

+More on Network World: 7 critical commercial spaceflight concerns the US must tackle+

virgin space infog 2.jpg

SpaceShipTwo’s deceleration system puts the plane’s tail booms into a position that slows the plane down in what Virgin calls a “feathering” motion similar to what a shuttlecock would do if dropped from significant height.

 “Normal launch procedures are that after the release, the ignition of the rocket and acceleration, that the feathering devices are not to be moved – the lock/unlock lever is not to be moved into the unlock position – until the acceleration up to Mach 1.4. Shortly after the feathering occurred {at Mach 1], the telemetry data terminated and the video data terminated,” Christopher Hart, the acting chairman of the NTSB said in a press conference on Sunday.

 Federal officials and others have noted that since this was indeed a test flight tons of evidence including video from inside and outside the craft -- and other computer information should be available to pinpoint what caused the spaceship to crash.

 Investigators said they have recovered nearly all the main pieces of SpaceShipTwo including fuel tanks and engine. Investigators noted that the tanks and engine were found largely intact precluding the notion the ship exploded.

virgin space infog.jpg reuters

Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson called the crash a "horrible setback" but said the company would absolutely continue on.

On Sunday Branson was asked if he still planned to be onboard the first Virgin galactic flight into suborbital space and he nodded his head yes.

Check out these other hot stories:

Air Force envisioning swarms of tiny, inexpensive, almost disposable drones

Guinness World Record: Amplifier operates at a speed of one trillion cycles per second

Virgin Galactic’s space plane crashes during test flight

US Navy, Energy Dept. team to develop wave energy devices

FBI: List of purchase order scam victims growing rapidly

Quick look: The 76 year-old “War of the World” broadcast rumpus

The FCC as data security cop: $10 million fine for carriers’ security breaches

Hacker group leader gets 24 months in federal prison for attacking US Navy, 50 other institutions

Ebola crisis brings out another sickness: Vile scammers

FTC gets $10M from massive text spam, robocalling schemers

The oil used to fry your eggroll for lunch might fly you to the coast in the afternoon

US Justice Dept. focuses new squad on cybercrime combat

 

To comment on this article and other Network World content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter stream.
Related:
Must read: Hidden Cause of Slow Internet and how to fix it
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.