Scaled Composites, the aerospace company that built and tested the commercial SpaceShipTwo space plane for Virgin Galactic, has released a statement identifying the pilots in the spacecraft's tragic crash on Friday (Oct. 31).
In a statement today (Nov. 1), Scaled Composites representatives said that the pilot killed during the failed test flight was Michael Albury. "The Scaled Composites family lost a respected and devoted colleague yesterday, Michael Alsbury, who was the co-pilot for the test flight of SpaceShipTwo Peter Siebold, the Director of Flight Operations at Scaled Composites, was piloting SpaceShipTwo," Scaled representatives wrote."He is alert and talking with his family and doctors." [Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crash: Full Coverage]
Siebold and Alsbury were attempting the fourth rocket-powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo when an anomaly occurred on Friday. The accident occurred shortly after the spacecraft ignited its hybrid rocket motor, which uses nitrous oxide and a plastic-based solid fuel. It was the 55th test flight of SpaceShipTwo and was based out of the Mojave Air and Space Port.
An investigation team from the National Transportation Safety Board has visited the crash site and will hold a press conference at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT. You can follow the NTSB investigation directly here: http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/2014/mojave_ca/mojave_ca.html
Scaled representatives asked that the privacy of the families of Siebold and Ashbury be respected during this difficult time.
"We remain focused on supporting the families of the two pilots and all of our employees, as well as the agencies investigating the accident. We ask at this time that everyone please respect the privacy of the families."
More details on the SpaceShipTwo pilots and the crash will be posted on Space.com following the NTSB briefing tonight.