Multiple sources are reporting the early termination of this morning’s test flight of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, which suffered “an in-flight anomaly” at 16:09 UTC. The flight marked the first use of a new type of fuel to power the ship’s engine.
Unconfirmed reports from Twitter indicate that it is likely that one of SpaceShipTwo’s crew of two was killed in the accident. This information was picked up by at least one Twitter user listening to SpaceShipTwo’s air-to-ground radio over a local radio scanner audio feed.
At approximately 13:40 CDT, Virgin Galactic posted a series of updates to their Twitter feed, confirming the loss of the spacecraft but not giving any indication as to the health of the pilots:
UPDATE:Virgin Galactic’s partner Scaled Composites conducted a powered test flight of #SpaceShipTwo earlier today. During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of SpaceShipTwo. [Carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo] landed safely. Our first concern is the status of the pilots, which is unknown at this time. We will work closely with relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident and provide updates ASAP.
Local ABC affiliate KERO is carrying a live camera feed from the crash area on their web site.
The Associated Press has tweeted that the California Highway Patrol is reporting one fatality and one major injury in the SpaceShipTwo crash.
This story is developing, and we’ll have more information as soon as it’s available