One person died and another was injured Friday when Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo test flight failed following what the company described as a “serious anomaly.”
The casualties are believed to be the pilots of the aircraft, though California Highway Patrol Officer Jesse Borne did not identify them.
The injured person has been airlifted to a local hospital, Borne said. He declined to identify the hospital.
Virgin Galactic has planned for years to sell trips in which SpaceShipTwo transports passengers about 62 miles above Earth — the beginning of outer space — and let them experience a few minutes of weightlessness before returning to ground.
News of the crash of SpaceShipTwo came just after 10 a.m. local time (1 p.m. ET).
“During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle,” the company said in a statement.
The company has not confirmed the two pilots manning SpaceShipTwo were either killed or injured.
“We will work closely with relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident,” the company said on Twitter.
The incident occurred over the Mojave Desert shortly after SpaceShipTwo separated from WhiteKnightTwo, the vehicle designed to carry it aloft, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.
It’s the second incident in a week involving the commercial space industry.
On Tuesday, an unmanned Antares rocket exploded just after takeoff off the coast of Virginia. Controllers deliberately destroyed the craft after it became apparent there was a problem, a spokesman for Orbital Sciences Corporation said Thursday.