The landing gear on Sir Richard Branson's private spaceship carrier plane, WhiteKnightTwo, collapsed on the runway in Mojave, California, Reuters reports.
The plane was designed by Scaled Composites, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, and designed to carry Branson's spaceship, SpaceShipTwo, to an altitude of about 45,000 feet. From there, SpaceShipTwo would fire its rocket engines, punch through the atmosphere, allow its six passengers to experience the weightlessness of space, then land on a runway--all for $200,000 a seat. (See video above.)
Branson's Virgin Group hopes to begin commercial space flights in late 2011 to 2012.