1975 - 2014
Michael Alsbury (1975 – 31 October 2014) was an American test pilot for Scaled Composites, killed on test flight PF04 of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise on 31 October 2014. At the time of his death, he had 1800 flight hours under his belt, 1600 of it at Scaled as a test pilot and engineer. In 2013, he was the co-recipient of the Ray E. Tenhoff Award from the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
Alsbury graduated Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a bachelor of science in aeronautical engineering.
Alsbury was married to Michelle Saling, for 12 years, and had two children, 7 and 10, at the time of his death.
Alsbury joined Scaled in 2001, and began working as a project engineer and pilot.
In April 2013, he served as copilot to Mark Stucky on the first powered flight for VSS Enterprise and SpaceShipTwo.
On 31 October 2014, along with Peter Siebold, Alsbury was test flying the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo, VSS Enterprise. The craft suffered an explosion shortly after its release from its mothership, resulting in the loss of VSS Enterprise, which crashed in the California Mojave Desert. While Siebold was injured he was able to parachute to safety, but Alsbury was unable to exit the spacecraft and his remains were found still strapped to his seat in the fuselage. It was the ninth time that Alsbury had flown aboard the aircraft.
1. "Press Release - 3:00pm, November 1, 2014". Scaled Comppsites. 1 November 2014.
2. Melody Petersen , Ruben Vives, W.J. Hennigan (1 November 2014). "Virgin Galactic craft probably broke up in midair, NTSB chief says". Los Angeles Times.
4. Chris Spargo, Ryan Parry, James Robertson, Kieran Corcoran (1 November 2014). "'I have lost the love of my life'". Daily Mail (London).
5. Mark Prigg, Chris Spargo, Lydia Warren, Kieran Corcoran (31 October 2014). "Moment Virgin Galactic spaceship exploded at 45,000ft". Daily Mail (London).
6. Daina Beth Solomon, Irene Klotz (2 November 2014). "Branson determined to find cause of Virgin spaceship crash, pilots identified". Reuters (SpaceDaily).