Five Years Ago SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise Crashed in the Mojave Desert

The spot where part of SpaceShipTwo’s cockpit crashed with the body of Mike Alsbury. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Five years ago today, SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise broke up over the Mojave Desert during a flight test. Co-pilot Mike Alsbury died and pilot Pete Siebold was seriously injured.

The crash ended Virgin Galactic’s effort to begin commercial crewed suborbital spaceflights in the first quarter of 2015. Those flights are not forecast to begin in June 2020 — five years later than planned.

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Armadillo Launches STIG A Rocket to 137,500 Feet From Spaceport America

Armadillo Aerospace's STIG A rocket launches from Spaceport America. (Credit: Space Adventures)

UPDATED at 1:56 p.m. PST with corrected altitude via corrected press release

Upham, NM — New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) officials announced today a successful launch over the weekend of an advanced sounding rocket designed and built by Armadillo Aerospace. The launch took place from Spaceport America’s vertical launch complex on Sun., Dec. 4. The test flight was a non-public, unpublished event at the request of Armadillo Aerospace, as the company is testing proprietary advanced launch technologies.

Saturday’s Armadillo launch successfully lifted off at approximately 11:00 a.m. (MST), which was within the dedicated, five-hour launch window, and reached its projected sub-orbital altitude of 137,500 feet (41.91 km).
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