Virgin Galactic Accident Due to Premature Feathering, Says NTSB

The National Transportation Safety Board says that the fatal accident of a test flight of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo vehicle in October of 2014, was due to premature feathering of the vehicle's braking system. The crash--which occured on October 31, 2014--resulted in the death of the co-pilot and serious injuries of the pilot, and destroyed the SpaceShipTwo. The feathering system in the SpaceShipTwo is used to slow down the vehicle for re-entry into the atmosphere. According to the lead investigator in the case, Lorenda Ward, co-pilot Michael Alsbury prematurely unlocked the feathering system, while the vehicle was going over Mach 1.4 -- which resulted in structural failure of the SpaceShipTwo while in flight.