It’s just after midnight here in Mojave. The past 14 hours have been traumatic for everyone here, for reasons I need not explain.
Friday started out as a typical fall day here. Cool with clear skies and a light breeze. Perfect flying weather.
But, sometime just after 10 o’clock in the morning, something went terribly wrong in the skies over the desert. The pride of a still nascent commercial space industry came apart high in the air for reasons still as yet unknown, falling to Earth in pieces. One brave test pilot died, another struggled to survive.
He was not the first pilot to die in these skies. Many military and civilian test pilots preceded him, putting their lives on the line flying experimental aircraft. It takes a special kind of person to take those risks, and to accept the consequences that go with them. We must never forget their bravery and courage.
My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone at Virgin Galactic, Scaled Composites and The Spaceship Company who lost a colleague and friend today. And my deepest condolences to his family. Let us all pray that the injured pilot recovers.
I was deeply shaken by what I saw today. What they are experiencing must be a million times worse. And I can’t even imagine that.
There are several theories about what caused this tragedy. Was it the new propulsion system? A structural failure? Or something else nobody saw coming?
That answer will come with time. The NTSB knows what it’s doing.
Healing will take much longer.
Friday began bright and sunny, a day full of promise that quickly brought tragedy. As I write this early on Saturday, a cold hard rain is lashing at my windows. That’s a good thing. We need it.
And it feels right. The sky is crying, adding to an ocean of tears shed here today.