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Scaled Composties Explosion Toll Rises To Three

Still image from video footage taken by local channel KCAL 9, shows the explosion site at Mojave Air and Space Port.

According to the Bakersfield Californian, the deceased were employees of Scaled Composites. Killed were Eric Blackwell, 38, of Randsburg, Charles May, 45, of Mojave and Todd Ivens, 33, of Tehachapi, the Kern County Coroner's office told the paper.
by Staff Writers
Los Angeles (AFP) Jul 27, 2007
A rocket exploded Thursday at an airport in the California desert, killing two people and seriously injuring four others, firefighters said CNN television reported that a third person had died but authorities would not immediately confirm the report. "There was an explosion on the Mojave Airport at 2:30 this afternoon (2130 GMT)," fire engineer Roberto Figueroa of the Kern County Fire Department told AFP. "There are two confirmed fatalities and four seriously injured."

"What exploded was a rocket," he said. The airport is located 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Los Angeles. Local television broadcast images taken from a helicopter showing debris scattered over a wide area and a semi-trailer split by the blast.

According to the station, the explosion erupted from tanks filled with rocket fuel during engine tests carried out at the airport. The Mojave desert site near the US Edwards Air Force Base is home to several private space flight companies.

Among them is Scaled Composites, an aerospace company run by US engineer Burt Rutan, who in 2004 won a 10-million-dollar prize by launching a rocket to space twice within a two-week period.

The six victims including all three fatalities of the blast were employees of Scaled Composites.

Scaled Composites is currently working with British billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic to send tourists to space by 2010.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Rocket Explosion Kills Two At Mojave In California
Mojave CA (AFP) Jul 26, 2007
A rocket exploded Thursday at an airport in the California desert, killing two people and seriously injuring four others, firefighters said. "There was an explosion on the Mojave Airport at 2:30 this afternoon (2130 GMT)," fire engineer Roberto Figueroa of the Kern County Fire Department told AFP. "There are two confirmed fatalities and four seriously injured."







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