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Alsbury, Michael Tyner
American test pilot for Scaled Composites; killed on 31 October 2014 during test flight PF04 of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise.





2013 April 29 - . 17:09 GMT - .
2014 October 31 - . 14:47 GMT - . FAILURE: Pilot mistakenly deployed tail booms.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Spaceship Two PF04 - . Crew: Alsbury, Siebold. Nation: USA. Spacecraft Bus: Spaceship. Spacecraft: SpaceShip Two. Apogee: 16 km (9 mi).

    The Spaceship Two S/N 01 'VSS Enterprise' rocket-powered glider was dropped from the White Knight 2 carrier aircraft, based at Mojave Spaceport in California, and was intended for passenger suborbital flights to be operated by Virgin Galactic. The vehicle had made 12 captive flights, 32 glide flights, and 3 rocket-powered flights prior to the accident. The glide flights had been piloted by a mixture of Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic test pilots. Only short rocket burns had been made and the highest apogee was only 22 km. On October 31, flight PF04 made a short rocket burn of 9 seconds, at which point the co-pilot unlocked the rotating tail booms, apparently by mistake; these were not intended to be deployed at the then speed of around Mach 1.0 during rocket-powered flight. The unlocked booms then accidentally deployed ('feathered'), followed by disintegration of the vehicle. The debris fell near Koehn Lake in California, about 40 km NE of the takeoff airport at Mojave. Pilot Pete Siebold parachuted to safety and was hospitalized with serious injuries; co-pilot Mike Alsbury was killed in the crash. The second SS Two, S/N 02 'VSS Voyager', was still under construction at Mojave.



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