URL to an article in CNN
I hope the govt. and environmentalists don't use this as an excuse to shut
down the private space program.
First few paragraphs
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- A third person died Friday from an
explosion at a rocket test pad operated by a private company in California's southern
Mojave Desert, according to the nursing supervisor at Kern Medical Center in
A bird's eye view of the scene in Mojave, California, shows charred wreckage
and large pieces of debris.
1 of 2
The explosion, which occurred Thursday at the Mojave Air and Space Port in
Mojave, California, initially killed two people and critically injured four
On Friday three people remained hospitalized -- two in critical condition,
one in serious condition.
The six were employed by _Scaled Composites_
, an aerospace development company founded 25 years ago
by _Burt Rutan_ (http://topics.cnn.com/topics/burt_rutan)
, the aerospace
engineer who designed the first plane to fly nonstop around the world without
According to Rutan, the blast occurred during a test involving nitrous oxide
flowing through fuel injectors. A source said the workers were testing
components of a new rocket motor for SpaceShipTwo, which is a spaceship being
built for Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson's space tourism company.
"We were doing a test that we believed was completely safe. ... We don't know
why it exploded," said Rutan, who was not at the site at the time of the
accident. _Watch the aftermath of the explosion »_
The explosion happened during a "cold fire test," he said.
A spokeswoman for the space port, which is about 80 miles north of Los
Angeles, said the blast was on a remote pad and that the area had been contained.
Aerial video of the blast aftermath showed a charred and twisted flatbed
trailer attached to a truck cab with a large silver tank next to it. Large
pieces of debris appeared to be strewn for hundreds of yards from the center.
Rutan won the Ansari X-Prize in 2004 for the first repeat sub-orbital space
flight with his pioneering SpaceShipOne.
SpaceShipTwo is a small carbon fiber craft designed to carry seven passengers
up to 65 miles above the earth, traveling at a speed of about 12,000 mph. A
ticket for such a ride was expected to cost $200,000."
(entropy always wins)
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