Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Crash: Full Coverage and Investigation

Debris from Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo is seen on the Mojave Desert floor after a tragic crash during a test flight on Oct. 31, 2014. One pilot was killed and another injured during the crash. (Image credit: AP Online Video / powered by Newslook)

On Oct. 31, 2014, the space tourism company Virgin Galactic suffered a serious accident during a SpaceShipTwo test flight, resulting in the loss of the spacecraft. One pilot died in the crash, while another suffered injuries. Scroll Down for our full coverage of the tragic accident.

Main Story: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes in Test Flight: 1 Dead, 1 Injured  
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo spacecraft crashed in the desert of Mojave, California on Oct. 31 during a powered test flight that went tragically wrong. One test pilot was killed and another injured in the crash. Here's what happened.

Photos and Video

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Crash Investigation in Photos
See photos of the NTSB's investigation into the breakup and crash of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo.

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Accident Investigation Explained: Infographic

SpaceShipTwo Crash - First Hand Account From Mojave  
Douglas Messier, editor of, gives a witness account of the tragic Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crash in Mojave on Oct. 31, 2014.

Full Coverage

Wednesday, Nov. 12

SpaceShipTwo Pilot Unaware 'Feather' System Was Unlocked: NTSB
Investigators have talked to the pilot who survived the tragic crash of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo last month, and say that he didn't know that his copilot unlocked the space plane's re-entry system early.

Wednesday, Nov. 5

Five Space Travel Accidents That Shaped the Modern Era
Space travel is a risky business. As we push for technological advances and further exploration, accidents unfortunately happen. Here are five key space accidents that have defined modern space travel, and the reasons they happened.

Tuesday, Nov. 4

Monday, Nov. 3

Is Private Spaceflight Safe? What Virgin Galactic's Fatal Crash Means
SpaceShipTwo's fatal accident doesn't spell doom for space tourism, though Virgin Galactic will likely have to answer key safety questions in the months and years ahead.

Memorial Fund for SpaceShipTwo Pilot Michael Alsbury Raises Over $55,000
The friends and co-workers of the co-pilot who died in Virgin Galactic's tragic SpaceShipTwo accident Friday (Oct. 31) have raised more than $55,000 for his family via crowdfunding.

Virgin Galactic Spaceship's 'Feathering' System Eyed in Deadly Crash
The unique "feathering" tail system on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, which is used for stability during descent by the spacecraft, deployed prematurely during the space plane's Oct. 31 test flight, the head of the National Transportation Safety Board says.

Sunday, Nov. 2

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Spaceliner: Test Flight Milestones
Virgin Galactic was founded 10 years ago with the goal of launching passengers into space. See the private space program's test flight milestones here.

Saturday, Nov. 1

Virgin Galactic Spaceship Broke Apart in Flight Before Crash: NTSB
NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher Hart told reporters late Saturday that Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo broke apart in mid-flight, with debris falling over a 5-mile stretch of the Mojave Desert, based on an initial survey. The NTSB investigation will likely spend up to seven days Mojave, then up to 12 months on analysis, he added.

Pilots in Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Crash Named
On Nov. 1, Scaled Composites named the pilots in the tragic SpaceShipTwo crash in California's Mojave Desert on Oct. 31. SpaceShipTwo co-pilot Michael Alsbury died in the accident. Peter Siebold, Scaled's director of flight operations, was piloting SpaceShipTwo and was injured in the crash. He is "alert and talking," Scaled officials said.

NTSB Begins Investigation of Virgin Galactic Spaceship Crash
Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson says the company will move forward after Friday's test flight tragedy, and vows to work closely with the National Transportation Safety Board in order to determine the cause of the SpaceShipTwo crash.

Virgin Galactic Vows to Continue Space Tourism After SpaceShipTwo Crash
Virgin Galactic vowed that its private space program will go on in the wake of a tragic SpaceShipTwo crash that killed one test pilot and injured another on Oct. 31. Here's what the company said.

Virgin Galactic Spaceship Crash Caps Terrible Week for Commercial Spaceflight
The deadly crash of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo space plane on Friday was the second accident in a week for the commercial space industry. On Tuesday, an unmanned Antares rocket built by Orbital Sciences Corporation exploded just after liftoff. Investigations into both space accidents are under way.

Friday, Oct. 31

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes in Test Flight: 1 Dead, 1 Injured
One pilot was killed and another injured when a Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo spacecraft crashed in California's Mojave Desert during the craft's fourth rocket-powered test flight on Oct. 31, 2014. 

First Report: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Spacecraft Crashes During Test Flight
Virgin Galactic has suffered an "in-flight" anomaly with its SpaceShipTwo spacecraft during the fourth powered test flight of the passenger spacecraft on Oct. 31. See Virgin Galactic's first announcement.

Virgin Galactic Resources

Virgin Galactic: Latest SpaceShipTwo News, Photos and Video

Virgin Galactic Website

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.