Daily Management Review

Virgin Galactic Crash Was Caused By Poor Pilot Training Cites Investigators


07/31/2015


Based on the federal investigations, the main reason for the Virgin Galactic spaceship crash has been attributed to the inattention paid towards establishing safety measures to the pilots whereby training them properly.



The “fatal crash” of “Virgin Galactic” spacecraft once again came under the spotlight. The federal investigators cite that the experimental craft that was carrying passenger in the previous year had suddenly crashed “over the Mojave Desert”. The investigators blame the “Northrup Grumman Corp subsidiary” which failed to provide adequate training to the pilots who took off for the test flight.
 
The spacecraft met with a “midair breakup” wherein the “hinged tail section” of the “Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo” was unlocked prematurely. The unfortunate accident had taken place on the 31st of October 2014, reports the “National Transportation Safety Board”. Furthermore, the fault for such a grave mishap were attributed to the “Scaled Composites”, as the unit of Northrop Grumman failed to “develop the craft” safely which also include the employment and training of test crew. The failure put a temporary end to the dream of Richard Branson, a “billionaire entrepreneur”, who wanted to “ferry space tourists beyond Earth's atmosphere”.
 
In fact, the second rung safety check point also failed equally as the “Federal Aviation Administration” holds the responsibility to oversee “commercial spacecraft” in the U.S. and approve them for matching all the required safety measurements so as to allow the same for “test flight”. However, the failure to identify “potential danger” in the Virgin Galactic brought about fatal consequences.
 
According to the webcast hearing of NTSB which was presented in Wasington, DC, it seems:
“Scaled provided inadequate training to co-pilot Michael Alsbury, who unlocked the tail section, and pilot Peter Siebold, and the other members of SpaceShipTwo's flight crews and engineering staff over the past 10 years”.
 
The board concludes that it was the duty of Scaled to instruct the pilots properly whereby to warn them of the danger that could take place when the rear section of the craft “was unlocked prematurely”, which means “before atmospheric forces built up to hold it into place”.  Scaled had issued a statement on its website which read
"Scaled will incorporate learning from this accident into its flight procedure review and safety assessment in future projects".
 
Furthermore, the statement also added that:
"Scaled will expand the documentation of training and testing further to promote safety, including with emphasis on the challenges inherent in rocket flight".
 
The Virgin Galactic was the first of the “five vehicles” that were designed to carry passengers on to an altitude of “62 miles (100 km)” for suborbital flights of space. In fact, the spacecraft service “has already about 700 tickets for rides”. Each ticket was sold at the price of “$250,000”. The test flights on the new ships from the series of Virgin Galactic are scheduled to start by the end of this year.
 
Currently, a Mojave based company that manufactures spaceship has taken over the responsibility of constructing the new spaceships. The transition, no doubt, took place due to the accident of last year. In the time of accident there were two pilots inside the craft; one had died during the incident while other “managed to parachute to safety”. 



References:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/28/us-space-spaceshiptwo-accident-idUSKCN0Q21YT20150728







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