Halloween delivered one nasty trick to Virgin’s Galactic division when its SpaceShipTwo exploded in the air during a test flight over the Mojave Desert. The company was also given a treat as one of the two pilots managed to eject, suffering major injuries, but surviving according to local police, he remains unidentified.
Michael Tyner Alsbury, 39, of Tehachapi, California was identified as the pilot whose life was lost. He was employed by Scaled Composites, the company owned by billionaire Richard Branson that is working to develop the first commercial spaceship. The vision is to create a space tourism company.
Alsbury leaves behind two children and wife, Michelle Saling and has been reported to have told the Daily Mail that: “I have lost the love of my life. I am in hell right now.”
While the FAA investigates the cause of the explosion, the president of Scaled Composites, Kevin Mickey revealed that the fuel mixture that was being used by the craft had never been used before, but it had been tested in the lab. The craft was on its 55th test flight when the explosion occurred according to reports Kenneth provided me with.
With prepaid seats costing $250,000 a pop, and waiting passengers totaling over 800, the company has a lot on the line. The pressure is on if Branson hopes to achieve his goal of getting a commercial flight off the ground by the spring of 2015.
The explosion follows NASA’s rocket loss on October, 28, 2014.