The Mystery of a Virgin Galactic Pilot's Error

Nobody knows exactly why Michael Alsbury, copilot of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, made the fatal mistake of unlocking a braking system too early during a rocket-powered test flight that had reached speeds of over Mach 1 on Oct. 31. The resulting disaster tore the wings off the futuristic space plane in mid-flight, killing Alsbury and forcing pilot Peter Siebold to parachute to safety with a shoulder injury. But the history of modern aviation accidents suggests that human error is rarely j

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