For Immediate Release
October 31, 2014
Contact: Kristie Greco
8:00 PM update on SpaceShipTwo incident over the Mojave Desert
Just after 10 a.m. PDT today, ground controllers at the Mojave Spaceport lost contact with SpaceShipTwo, an experimental space flight vehicle. The incident occurred over the Mojave Desert shortly after the space flight vehicle separated from WhiteKnightTwo, the vehicle that carried it aloft. Two crew members were on board SpaceShipTwo at the time of the incident. WhiteKnightTwo remained airborne after the incident. Under a voluntary cooperative agreement with the FAA the NTSB is leading the accident investigation with FAA support.
The FAA is responsible for regulating the U.S. commercial space transportation industry. The agency requires commercial space operators to take steps to ensure the safety of members of the public and property on the ground. Additionally, the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation provides compliance monitoring and safety inspectors for each FAA-authorized launch. Regulations require that crew members are aware of the inherent risks involved in the operation and acknowledge them.