Pilots in Virgin Galactic crash were Cal Poly alums
November 3, 2014
The two men piloting a test spaceflight that crashed in the Mojave Desert on Friday are Cal Poly alums who graduated from the university’s aerospace engineering program. [KSBY]
Michael Alsbury, 39, and Peter Siebold, 43, were flying the Virgin Galactic VSS Enterprise spacecraft when it suffered an in-flight breakup. Alsbury died and Siebold who survived with serious injuries is recovering from surgery performed over the weekend.
Both Alsbury and Siebold worked for Virgin Galactic’s partner company Scaled Composites. Alsbury graduated from Cal Poly in 1998, and Siebold graduated in 2001.
Investigators say a safety device on the spacecraft deployed too early and without command from the pilots, prompting the crash. The device was designed to slow the craft upon reentry into the atmosphere.