Updated 06:22 AM EST, Mon, Nov 29, 2021

Virgin Galactic Crash: SpaceShipTwo Crash 2014 News Updates: Ashton Kutcher, Katy Perry & Tom Hanks Among Plane Bookers

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Space tourism could be one of those American dreams almost manifesting into reality -- until odds claimed it wasn't ready.

On Friday, Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo crashed in a test flight, killing one of its two pilots and injuring the other. NASA SpaceFlight reported that the space vehicle had an "apparent engine problem," which eventually resulted to the aircraft's unfortunate wreckage.

39-year-old co-pilot Michael Alsbury died in the experimental vessel's crash, said Daily Mail. His body was found in the wreckage. 

Alsbury reportedly has at least 15 years of flight experience and has had over 1,600 hours working as a test pilot and test engineer, noted The Guardian.

Co-pilot Peter Siebold, on the other hand, was able to save himself with a parachute. He is severely injured, although he is reportedly "alert and talking" at present, said Daily Mail.

SpaceFlight added that Virgin Galactic has claimed to launch trained passengers by 2008. Yet six years from that idea, the goal may not happen just yet.

Over 700 tickets -- this is Virgin Galactic's figure of all its booked flights in April -- according to Mashable. This number included Hollywood celebrities such as Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber. 

The New York Times adds that Tom Hanks also booked a flight with Virgin Galactic.

Following the catastrophic accident, the outlet said journalist Jim Clash still bought a ticket. Clash remains hopeful saying, "Stuff happens. I'm not going to change my perspective on selling my ticket back, or not sticking with 'em, I just think it's -- You never know."

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson said via The New York Times that the company is determined to know what went wrong. Accordingly, a team of 15 investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board looked into the situation Saturday. 

NTSB acting chairman Christopher Hart noted that SpaceShipTwo's debris stretched about five miles long at the Mojave Desert in California. He hypothesized, "When the wreckage is dispersed like that, that indicates the likelihood of in-flight breakup."

It appears Virgin Galactic has been tapped regarding safety over a long period of time already. Daily Mail said that rocket propulsion scientist Carolynne Campbell from the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety, has warned the company for seven years.

"This explosion is not a surprise. None whatsoever, I am sorry to say. It is exactly what I was expecting. It was Russian roulette which test flight blew up," Campbell said in the Daily Mail report.

BBC reported that the Virgin Galactic aims to launch in commercial terms by 2015. With a single flight priced at $250,000, Branson himself promised via the outlet that he is bound to take the first ride.

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