Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson’s commercial space flight company, has lost one of its spaceships during a test flight.
SpaceShipTwo experienced an “in-flight anomaly”, the company said, causing it to crash over the Mojave Desert, killing one and injuring a second according to Calfornia Highway Patrol.
It's understood there were two pilots aboard the spaceship but no passengers.
A second test jet, known as WhiteKnightTwo and which helps launch the spaceship into high altitude, landed safely.
Virgin Galactic is working with US aerospace company Scaled Composites, part of Northrop Grumman, to develop passenger space flights and pioneer the space tourism industry.
SpaceShipTwo had its first test flight in January.
The company said it would work with the relevant authorities on determining the cause of the accident and that it would provide further updates on Twitter.
#SpaceShipTwo has experienced an in-flight anomaly. Additional info and statement forthcoming.— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) October 31, 2014
UPDATE:Virgin Galactic's partner Scaled Composites conducted a powered test flight of #SpaceShipTwo earlier today. (1 of 4)— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) October 31, 2014
During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of SpaceShipTwo. WK2 landed safely. (2 of 4)— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) October 31, 2014
Our first concern is the status of the pilots, which is unknown at this time. (3 of 4)— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) October 31, 2014
We will work closely with relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident and provide updates ASAP. (4 of 4)— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) October 31, 2014