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Pilot Injured in SpaceShipTwo Crash 'Alert, Talking'

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A pilot injured in Friday’s deadly Virgin Galactic test flight accident is awake and able to speak with family members and doctors, the company involved in the craft’s development and testing said.

Peter Siebold, 43, had surgery on his arm, his family told NBC News Saturday. He was injured when the SpaceShipTwo rocket plane broke up over California’s Mojave Desert Friday and crashed, killing pilot Michael Alsbury, 39. Scaled Composites said Siebold was the pilot and Alsbury was the co-pilot on the fatal flight.

“He is alert and talking with his family and doctors,” the company said of Siebold in a statement Saturday. “We remain focused on supporting the families of the two pilots and all of our employees, as well as the agencies investigating the accident.” Scaled Composites has been testing and developing SpaceShipTwo for Virgin Galactic.

Earlier Saturday, Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson said the program “fell short” but vowed to find out what went wrong. “We owe it to our test pilots to figure out what went wrong. If we can overcome it, we’ll make absolutely certain that the dream lives on," he said. More than 700 customers have paid as much as $250,000 to take a ride on SpaceShipTwo.

Peter Siebold
Pilot Peter Siebold, seen here, was injured when the SpaceShipTwo rocket plane broke up over California’s Mojave Desert on Oct. 31, killing pilot Michael Alsbury. Scaled Composites said Siebold was the pilot and Alsbury was the co-pilot on the fatal flight.Scaled Composites

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