Virgin Galactic’s spaceship, meant to eventually take wealthy passengers on brief rides into space, crashed during a test flight over southern California on Friday morning. One of its two pilots was killed, the other suffered serious injuries and remains hospitalized.
It’s a major setback for the space tourism effort, and a loss for the aerospace community. The deceased pilot, who has not been named, was like all his colleagues among the best on the planet. Virgin Galactic only hires the best, guys who tested planes for the Air Force or flew missions for NASA. The talent pool is limited because it has to be: Flying SpaceShipTwo is damn difficult. More: