The federal investigators have initiated a probe into Friday’s explosion of a private Virgin Galactic spaceship midflight, claiming life of one pilot and seriously injuring the other.
According to the reports, the investigators are sifting through the wreckage of the spacecraft to learn about what led to the explosion during the test flight of a new fuel mid-air.
SpaceShipTwo, which was flown by two pilots, was in the testing phases in order to bring commercial spaceflight to tourists.
While addressing a press conference on Saturday night, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) acting head Christopher Heart said that the federal probe has been initiated into the air crash and it could take as long as one year.
“We know that there was an inflight separation but don’t yet know what caused it,” Hart reportedly said an NTSB tweet.
Hart: We know that there was an inflight separation but don’t yet know what caused it. #SpaceShipTwo — NTSB (@NTSB) November 2, 2014
According to the investigating officials, the on-site inspection is expected to get over within four to seven days. As the debris field is about five miles long, the whole sifting process through the images, video footage, engine inspection, interviews, data analysis and other physical evidence gathered from the crash site could take up to 12 months.
Hart said the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will assist in the investigation.
On Saturday, entrepreneur Richard Branson, who is behind the commercial space venture, met his Virgin Galactic space team in Mojave Desert in California.
“We are determined to find out what went wrong,” said Branson during a press conference on Saturday.
Branson, a British billionaire and adventurer, has become the public face of the venture in space industry.