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Virgin Galactic pilot Todd Ericson, right, talks with NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart, second from left, at the SpaceShipTwo accident site with investigators in Mojave, Calif
Virgin Galactic pilot Todd Ericson, right, talks with NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart, second from left, at the SpaceShipTwo accident site with investigators in Mojave, Calif (AP Photo/NTSB)
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Many questions still unanswered in spaceship crash

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Federal accident investigators have an early sense of what went wrong before an experimental spaceship designed to ferry tourists beyond the Earth's atmosphere broke apart during a test flight. But they still don't know why the craft prematurely shifted its shape prior to the deadly crash.

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Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo at a Virgin Galactic hangar at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo at a Virgin Galactic hangar at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo at a Virgin Galactic hangar at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)
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Virgin spaceship’s descent system deployed early

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Federal investigators say they have determined that a space tourism rocket broke apart in flight over California's Mojave Desert after a device to slow the experimental spaceship's descent deployed too soon.

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Law enforcement officers take a closer look at the wreckage near the site where a Virgin Galactic space tourism rocket, SpaceShipTwo, exploded and crashed in Mojave, Calif. Saturday, Nov 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Law enforcement officers take a closer look at the wreckage near the site where a Virgin Galactic space tourism rocket, SpaceShipTwo, exploded and crashed in Mojave, Calif. Saturday, Nov 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
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Virgin disaster a reminder of fatal ’07 explosion

MOJAVE, Calif. (AP) -- The loss of an experimental spaceship that broke up over the Mojave Desert, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another, has renewed criticism of the way the craft's designer and Virgin Galactic handled a deadly explosion seven years ago.

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Wreckage lies near the site where a Virgin Galactic space tourism rocket, SpaceShipTwo, exploded and crashed in Mojave, Calif. Friday. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Wreckage lies near the site where a Virgin Galactic space tourism rocket, SpaceShipTwo, exploded and crashed in Mojave, Calif. Friday. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
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Can space industry survive 2 explosions in 4 days?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fiery failures are no stranger to the space game. It's what happens when you push the boundaries of what technology can do, where people can go. And it happened again to Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo.

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Billionaire Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson during a news conference in Mojave, Calif., Saturday. (AP Photo/Brian Melley)
Billionaire Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson during a news conference in Mojave, Calif., Saturday. (AP Photo/Brian Melley)
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Branson vows to find out cause of spacecraft crash

MOJAVE, Calif. (AP) -- Billionaire Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson vowed Saturday to find out what caused the crash of his prototype space tourism rocket, killing one crew member and injuring another, but sounded a cautious note about any move to quickly push the project forward.

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Photo sequence shows the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo rocket separating from the carrier aircraft, left, prior to it exploding in the air, right, during a test flight on Friday.  (AP Photo/Kenneth Brown)
Photo sequence shows the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo rocket separating from the carrier aircraft, left, prior to it exploding in the air, right, during a test flight on Friday. (AP Photo/Kenneth Brown)
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Investigators, Branson go to spacecraft crash site

MOJAVE, Calif. (AP) -- Federal accident investigators are headed to a desert crash site where a winged spaceship designed to give wealthy tourists a high-altitude view of Earth broke up during a test flight, killing one pilot and badly injuring another.

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Wreckage of what is believed to be SpaceShipTwo in Southern California's Mojave Desert on Friday. (AP Photo/KABC TV)
Wreckage of what is believed to be SpaceShipTwo in Southern California's Mojave Desert on Friday. (AP Photo/KABC TV)
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Witness: Space tourism rocket explodes in desert

MOJAVE, Calif. (AP) -- A Virgin Galactic space tourism rocket exploded Friday during a test flight, killing a pilot aboard and seriously injuring another while scattering wreckage in Southern California's Mojave Desert, witnesses and officials said.

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