Loss of control Accident Scaled Composites Model 339 SpaceShipTwo N339SS,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 170756
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Date:Friday 31 October 2014
Type:Scaled Composites Model 339 SpaceShipTwo
Owner/operator:Scaled Composites LLC
Registration: N339SS
MSN: 01
Year of manufacture:2010
Total airframe hrs:6 hours
Engine model:Scaled Composites RM2-20A001
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:east of Mojave, CA -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Mojave, CA (MHV)
Destination airport:Mojave, CA (MHV)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On October 31, 2014, at 1007:32 Pacific daylight time, the SpaceShipTwo (SS2) reusable suborbital rocket, N339SS, operated by Scaled Composites LLC (Scaled), broke up into multiple pieces during a rocket-powered test flight and impacted terrain over a 5-mile area near Koehn Dry Lake, California. The pilot received serious injuries, and the copilot received fatal injuries. SS2 was destroyed, and no one on the ground was injured as a result of the falling debris. SS2 had been released from its launch vehicle, WhiteKnightTwo (WK2), N348MS, about 13 seconds before the structural breakup. Scaled was operating SS2 under an experimental permit issued by the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) according to the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 437.
Probable Cause: Scaled Composites' failure to consider and protect against the possibility that a single human error could result in a catastrophic hazard to the SpaceShipTwo vehicle. This failure set the stage for the copilot's premature unlocking of the feather system as a result of time pressure and vibration and loads that he had not recently experienced, which led to uncommanded feather extension and the subsequent aerodynamic overload and in-flight breakup of the vehicle.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: DCA15MA019
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report





Virgin SpaceShipTwo Breakup NTSB Meeting july 2015:

Revision history:

31-Oct-2014 18:30 harro Added
31-Oct-2014 18:47 harro Updated [Registration, Cn, Total occupants, Embed code, Plane category]
31-Oct-2014 18:56 harro Updated [Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Embed code, Damage, Narrative]
31-Oct-2014 19:03 harro Updated [Source]
31-Oct-2014 19:09 harro Updated [Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Narrative]
31-Oct-2014 21:28 harro Updated [Time, Source, Narrative]
01-Nov-2014 12:17 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative, Plane category]
12-Nov-2014 17:01 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative]
29-Jul-2015 16:38 Iceman29 Updated [Embed code, Narrative]
05-Aug-2015 12:00 Iceman29 Updated [Embed code]
21-Dec-2016 19:28 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
30-Nov-2017 19:28 ASN Update Bot Updated [Cn, Operator, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative, Plane category]
16-Feb-2020 15:35 harro Updated [Other fatalities, Embed code, Narrative, Accident report, ]

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