Branson Says Crash Cause Will Be Found

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An atypically restrained Richard Branson told reporters on Saturday his Virgin Galactic will find the cause of Friday’s catastrophic loss of SpaceShipTwo but he’s making no predictions about how long it will delay his dream of carrying “ordinary people” to space. “We are not going to push on blindly,” Branson said shortly after his arrival at the Mojave Spaceport a day after the spacecraft was lost on a test flight to evaluate a new fuel. The accident killed Scaled Composites pilot Michael Tyner Alsbury, 39. Colleague Peter Siebold, 43, was seriously injured and underwent surgery on Saturday but the nature of his injuries, like most of the details surrounding the incident, have not been released.

“To be honest, I find it slightly irresponsible that people who know nothing about what they’re saying can be saying things before the NTSB makes their comments,” said Branson, who deferred all questions about details of the crash to the NTSB. A team of investigators arrived in Mojave early Saturday. Crews have been kept busy rounding up wreckage from a wide area of the desert near Mojave. Photos released to a couple of television networks appear to show the spacecraft exploding shortly after the engine ignited.

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