Virgin Galactic spaceship's descent device deployed prematurely

Nov 3, 2014 6:51 AM by Cheryl Wengren

MOJAVE, Calif. (AP) - Federal aviation investigators say Virgin Galactic's experimental spaceship broke apart in flight over California's Mojave Desert after a device to slow the craft's descent prematurely deployed.

The National Transportation Safety Board says investigators found the "feathering" system - which lifts and rotates the tail to create drag - was activated before the craft reached the appropriate speed.

But investigators have not determined the cause of Friday's crash that killed co-pilot Michael Alsbury and injured pilot Peter Siebold.


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