STATEMENT FROM VIRGIN GALACTICNov 2, 2014
Over the past few days, there has been speculation about the tragic incident the resulted in the death of Scaled Composites’ pilot, Michael Alsbury, injuries to pilot Peter Siebold and the loss of SpaceShipTwo. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families and friends of these brave men.
We understand that everyone is anxious to understand what happened on Friday; certainly no one wants to know more than we do. However, as we have made clear, Virgin Galactic is not in a position to comment on the incident itself or the test flight. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is in charge of the investigation and we are cooperating fully with their work. All inquiries should be directed to them.
At Virgin Galactic, we are dedicated to opening the space frontier, while keeping safety as our ‘North Star’. This has guided every decision we have made over the past decade, and any suggestion to the contrary is categorically untrue. We have the privilege to work with some of the best minds in the space industry, who have dedicated their lives to the development of technologies to enable the continued exploration of space. All of us at Virgin Galactic understand the importance of our mission and the significance of creating the first ever commercial spaceline. This is not a mission that anyone takes lightly.
Everything we do is to pursue the vision of accessible and democratized space – and to do it safely. Just like early air or sea travel, it is hard and complicated, but we believe that a thriving commercial space industry will have far reaching benefits for humanity, technology and research for generations to come. This is an important mission and we have been overwhelmed and grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from our future astronauts, friends in the industry and people all over the world who are inspired by the work our industry is doing and who are urging us to continue.
Now is not the time for speculation. Now is the time to focus on all those affected by this tragic accident and to work with the experts at the NTSB, to get to the bottom of what happened on that tragic day, and to learn from it so that we can move forward safely with this important mission.
STATEMENT FROM VIRGIN GALACTICOct 31, 2014
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 the vehicle. The WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft landed safely.
The Virgin Galactic team is cooperating with our partners at Scaled Composites and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as well as local authorities. We understand that the NTSB is scheduled to arrive in Mojave tomorrow morning (Saturday Nov. 1) to commence their investigation, which is expected to last several days.
Local authorities have confirmed that one of the two Scaled Composites pilots died during the accident. The other pilot parachuted to the ground and is being treated at a local hospital. All of us at Virgin Galactic are deeply saddened by today’s events. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all those affected by this accident.
George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic, provided the following statement:
“Our primary thoughts at this moment are with the crew and family, and we’re doing everything we can for them now. I’d like to recognize the work of the first responders who we work with in the Antelope Valley for their efforts on behalf of the team. We’re also thinking of the team members that we have at the companies that have been working on this program.
Space is hard and today was a tough day. We are going to be supporting the investigation as we figure out what happened today. We’re going to get through it. The future rests in many ways on hard days like this, but we believe we owe it to the team, that has been working so hard on this endeavour, to understand this and to move forward. And that is what we’ll do.”
Sir Richard Branson is on his way to Mojave and is expected to arrive by early Saturday morning.
We understand your interest in additional information. It is our understanding that there will be another press conference over the weekend at the Mojave Air & Space Port. We will post any logistical details as they become available, and we will provide another update from Virgin Galactic at that time in conjunction with the press briefing.
All press enquiries regarding todays test flight incident should be forwarded to: VirginGalacticPress@edelman.com.