Virgin Galactic has been laying low in the twelve months following its horrible space plane accident, which resulted in one pilot dying and another being hospitalized, but now the company is back on track. Richard Branson, the founder of the company, recently did an interview with Mashable where he discussed how hard Virgin Galactic has been working to ensure that such an accident never happens again, and announced that the company’s next space plane will be unveiled this upcoming February.
One year ago Saturday, Virgin Galactic’s first space plane disintegrated in the skies above Mojave, California, killing one pilot and leaving the other hospitalized. In the wake of the tragic accident, it was unclear if the private spaceflight company with dreams of sending paying customers to suborbital space would survive, but now, 12 months later, Virgin Galactic’s founder, Sir Richard Branson, says the company is back on track. “The last 12 months everyone’s worked incredibly hard,” Branson told Mashable in an interview. “We’re very much back on track now.” After the accident, engineers and others working with the company got to work continuing to build the second SpaceShipTwo, which should be ready to start testing by February 2016, according Branson. “We’ll be unveiling the new spaceship,” said Branson. “And then we go into flight tests.” On Oct. 31, 2014, SpaceShipTwo was taken high into the sky by its carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo. Once released, SpaceShipTwo’s engine kicked on, but shortly after it began flying under its own power, the ship broke apart. Pilot Peter Siebold parachuted to safety, but co-pilot Mike Alsbury died in the crash. It was the fourth powered test flight of the vehicle. “Twelve months ago was obviously not a good day,” Branson said.
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