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Virgin Galactic Explosion Caused By Pilot Error—But What Caused The Pilot Error?

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SS2 investigationLast week, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo exploded during a test flight, killing one pilot and injuring the other. While the investigation continues, and is likely to go on for quite some time, we do know more about what happened to SpaceShipTwo—namely, that the explosion appears to have been caused by pilot error. But in the wake of that revelation, new questions arise—ones that may not be easy to answer.

Investigators know that the premature unlocking of SpaceShipTwo’s feathering system—a braking system used to help the plane decelerate and descend—caused the explosion that resulted in the death of pilot Michael Alsbury. The deployment of that system caused the craft’s tail booms to move upward and forward to increase drag. It was supposed to be deployed when the craft reached a speed of 1.4 Mach, but instead was deployed when the space plane hit 1 Mach and was still accelerating.

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Here’s The Latest On The Virgin Galactic And Antares Rocket Explosions

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Antares' launch pad

Antares’ launch pad

This week, both the Antares and Virgin Galactic test flights resulted in catastrophe. In the wake of these disasters, more details have been released and we’re back with the latest news on both.

Orbital Sciences confirmed that an operator at the Wallops Range Control Center deployed the Antares rocket’s Flight Termination System, resulting in Tuesday’s explosion. The operator engaged the sequence when it became clear that there was a major problem, and terminating the flight earlier was a much safer option than waiting, as an explosion later in the process could have impacted a more populated area.

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NBC’s Space-Based Reality Series Is Orbiting Disaster Following Virgin Galactic Crash

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virgin galactic

The kind of excitement that humanity’s trek into the cosmos has inspired is a beautiful thing. We’re at a point when government-sponsored NASA isn’t the only thinktank headed into outer space, and the privatized frontier is here. Unfortunately, the trial-and-error process has its downfalls, and this past week has seen two Virgin Galactic crashes occurring, with today’s being the first where someone has died. To be expected, NBC is starting to have second thoughts about its upcoming reality series Space Race, which Virgin’s Richard Branson and producer Mark Burnett were behind.

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Virgin Galactic Test Flight Crashes, Killing One Pilot And Injuring Another, Details Here

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Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo

Tuesday’s news about Orbital Sciences’ rocket explosion was bad, but the silver lining was that no one got hurt. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the said today. A Virgin Galactic spaceship has crashed in the Mojave Desert, resulting in the death of one pilot and injuries to the other.

This is a developing news story, so more details will come to light after we post this, and we’ll be sure to keep you informed of any developments. Right now, we’re checking a number of different sources trying to round up what know for sure. As with any catastrophe, there is contradictory information out there, and scant information there has been more investigation.

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Virgin Galactic SpaceShip Two Makes Third (And Highest) Test Flight

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Virgin GalacticThe Virgin Galactic doubters are eating their words after their soon-to-be low-Earth orbit spaceship made its third successful test flight on Friday. Each test flight has reached higher altitudes, with Friday’s flight making it 71,000 feet above the Mojave Desert.

Virgin Galactic’s White Knight Two airplane carried the six-passenger spaceship between its hulls to just over 45,000 feet and then released it, leaving the spaceship to use its impressive rocket motor to keep on soaring. The rocket burn lasted 20 seconds, achieving Mach 1.4. That part of the flight lasted 10 minutes, and the two pilots had landed the plane safely in the desert within an hour. Chief pilot David Mackay said that the craft “flew brilliantly.” Virgin Galactic happily tweeted the news, along with some pretty awesome photos.

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Lady Gaga Set To Perform In Space In 2015

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Lady GagaWe probably shouldn’t be too surprised by this. If there were any performer ready to sing in space, it would have to be Lady Gaga. Assuming that everything goes according to plan, she’ll become the first musician to perform in space in early 2015. Well, besides Chris Hadfield that is.

Gaga first hinted at the news on Twitter, where she teased fans with rumors about her upcoming performance:

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