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Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crash likely caused by co-pilot error, NTSB finds
[i]The fatal in-flight loss of Virgin Galactic's first SpaceShipTwo spacecraft last October was likely the result of pilot error and the failure of the sub-orbital space plane's designer to protect against such occurring, federal investigators said on Tuesday (July 28).
The Oct. 31, 2014 accident, which claimed the life of co-pilot Mike Alsbury and seriously injured pilot Pete Siebold, took place during a test flight of the spacecraft, which was developed and built by Scaled Composites for Virgin. The private vehicle broke apart over California's Mojave Desert after its tail booms prematurely feathered into their upright position.
"The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was Scaled's failure to consider and protect against the possibility that a single human error could result in a catastrophic hazard to the SpaceShipTwo vehicle," the investigators reported during the meeting on Tuesday. "This failure set the stage for the co-pilot's premature unlocking of the feather system."[/i]
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