1 dead, 1 major injury in Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo accident: officials

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MOJAVE, Calif. (AP) — According to the California Highway Patrol, one of the pilots has died and another suffered a “major injury” after Virgin Galactic’s space tourism rocket suffered an “in-flight anomaly” Friday.

Virgin Galactic reported that its SpaceShipTwo space tourism rocket had been lost in Southern California.

The company tweeted Friday: “During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of SpaceShipTwo.”

The company founded by British billionaire Richard Branson would not say what happened other that it was working with authorities to determine the cause of the “accident.”

Kern County Fire Department reported it was heading to a location in the Mojave Desert. California Highway Patrol Officer Darlena Dotson said the agency was responding to a report of a crash in the Cantil area.

Virgin Galactic has been the front-runner in the fledgling space-tourism industry. SpaceShipTwo, typically flown by a crew of two pilots, has been under development in the desert northeast of Los Angeles.

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