Pilot dies as Virgin Galactic spacecraft crashes in California

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Pilot dies as Virgin Galactic spacecraft crashes in California

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At least one person is dead and another injured after Virgin Galactic’s space tourism craft crashed during a test flight in California on Friday.

Two pilots were onboard the SpaceShipTwo as it underwent its first powered test flight since January.

It was travelling over the Mojave Desert when it experienced what the company described as “a serious anomaly.”

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson tweeted he was flying to California “to be with the team” and thanked people for their messages of support.

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said: “Space is hard and today was a tough day. We are going to be supporting an investigation as we figure out what happened today and we are going to get through it. Future rests in many ways on hard days like this.”

The spaceship has been developed to carry people to the edge of the space where they can experience weightlessness for a few minutes.

More than 800 people have paid or put down deposits to fly aboard the vessel. The spaceship does not yet have a formal date to begin service.