Virgin Galactic Tests Resume 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — The head of the space tourism company that suffered a tragic setback when its experimental rocket ship broke apart over the California desert says test flights could resume as early as next summer.

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides told The Associated Press on Wednesday that work is underway at the company’s shop in the Mojave Desert to finish a second spacecraft.

It will replace the first SpaceShipTwo, which was destroyed last week when it disintegrated during a test flight, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another.

Whitesides says the new ship’s frame is complete, but critical flight control systems, wiring and windows still need to be installed. He says the work has become a form of therapy for employees as they try to focus on something constructive in the wake of the accident.