(CNN) — In the second space-related accident in four days, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo exploded over California’s Mojave Desert. At least one person is dead and another seriously injured.
The Federal Aviation Administration says the incident occurred just after the craft separated from the plane that carried it about 50,000 feet into the air.
Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides says the company will persevere.”We are going to be supporting the investigation as we figure out what happened today and we are going to get through it,” he said.
Virgin had sold more than 700 tickets for future flights, which were to give space tourists the experience of weightlessness.
Last year, Virgin founder Richard Branson told CNN space exploration is a risky business.
“People risk at lot to get space off the ground in the first place,” he said, “but unless you risk something, the world, you know, stays still.”
Friday’s disaster comes just days after an unmanned rocket exploded moments after launch in Virginia. Orbital Sciences Corporation said it commanded the Antares rocket to self-destruct following a problem. It was supposed to carry supplies to the International Space Station.
Mojave Air and Space Port CEO Stuart Witt had a message of hope for the future of space exploration:”Stay the course. This business is a worthy business.”
Officials say the injured pilot is being treated at a hospital. His condition is unknown.
Branson was on his way to the crash site in the Mojave Desert Friday afternoon.