NTSB says surviving spaceship pilot was unaware of co-pilot's premature action before breakup

IndustriesAssociated Press

The National Transportation Safety Board says the pilot who survived the breakup of a Virgin Galactic spaceship was unaware his co-pilot had prematurely unlocked the craft's re-entry braking system, then was thrown clear of the disintegrating craft.

The investigation update Wednesday does not provide any details on what caused SpaceShipTwo to crash Oct. 31 in the Mojave Desert.

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The NTSB says pilot Peter Siebold told investigators Friday that he was pulled from the vehicle when it disintegrated. He told investigators he unbuckled from his seat at some point during his fall and his parachute deployed automatically.

The NTSB previously said the ship designed to fly tourists to the edge of space tore apart a few seconds after the co-pilot unlocked the braking system.