The Space Mirror Memorial honoring fallen astronauts may soon include the name of Mike Alsbury, a Scaled Composites test pilot who died when SpaceShipTwo broke up on Halloween 2014.
Florida Today reports that on Friday, Virgin Galactic pilot Rick “C.J.” Sturckow lobbied the Astronauts Memorial Foundation to include pilots who fly for commercial space companies.
On Friday, Sturckow petitioned the foundation’s Memorial Committee to reconsider the eligibility of Mike Alsbury, a Scaled Composites pilot who died during a 2014 test flight of SpaceShipTwo.
As it did in 2016, the committee determined that Alsbury doesn’t yet meet its criteria. Placement on the granite mirror standing nearly 43 feet tall and 50 feet wide currently is limited to people flying or training for government-sponsored space missions….
But unlike in 2016, when SpaceShipTwo had not yet been to space, the committee recommended changing its criteria by an 8-0 vote.
The exact language that the foundation’s board will consider is still to be hashed out. But it is expected to incorporate changes like some that Sturckow proposed, which would be favorable to Alsbury.
The mirror includes the names of 24 people who died either during spaceflights or died while in training for one. The list includes the crews of Apollo 1 and the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia. U.S. Air Force pilot Mike Adams, who died in the crash of his X-15 after flying above 50 miles (80 km), is also included.
Like some of the NASA astronauts on the mirror who died during training, Alsbury never made it to space. He died in the breakup of SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise. Virgin Galactic flew a successor vehicle, VSS Unity, above 50 miles (80 km) in December and February.