Future of Space Tourism Uncertain

A rocket-powered aircraft designed for space tourists broke apart and crashed during a test flight in California’s Mojave Desert on Friday, killing one pilot and injuring the other.

Virgin Galactic LLC’s SpaceShipTwo was on its first powered flight using a new fuel mixture for a redesigned engine system. If the first few test flights went well, it was supposed to take its inaugural passenger, company founder Richard Branson , out of the atmosphere in the next few months. Ahead of Friday’s test, company officials expected commercial service would begin as soon as early next year.

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