There's a growing, looming shadow over the private spaceflight industry this year. Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, a suborbital rocket designed for tourists, crashed on Friday, Oct. 31 due to an "in-flight anomaly" during a powered test flight over the Mojave Desert.
Although the company hasn't specified what anomaly caused the fatal failure, multiple on-the-ground reports indicate it happened shortly after SpaceShipTwo detached from its WhiteKnightTwo carrier craft and ignited a newer, plastic-based rocket fuel.
The incident marks this week's second high-profile disaster for the private spaceflight industry, following the explosion of Orbital's Antares rocket shortly after liftoff on Tuesday.
See below for the latest updates to this story.
UPDATE 6: 1:28 p.m. on Nov. 1, 2014
Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, gave the following statement during a press conference in the Mojave Desert:
This is a very tough time for all of us at Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company and Scaled Composites, and our thoughts remain with the families of the brave Scaled pilots, and all those affected by this tragedy.
We are determined to find out what went wrong and are working with the authorities to get that information. It is too early for me to add any details of the investigation at this stage.