|Cygnus at the ISS|
Sadly, for Virgin Galactic and the families involved ... and us all as we share our empathy with them over their tragedy (we do stand with you in this trying, terrible time), loss of life was involved in the destruction of their SpaceShip2 during a test flight checking out new fuel for a higher flight. It is hypothesized that flaps may have been deployed at the wrong moment, causing the craft to break up in midair. For more, see: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/01/us-space-crash-virgin-idUSKBN0IK24220141101
We need a robust space program sending humans out beyond the moon. Right now NASA is preparing to launch a spacecraft capable of making that happen, the Orion, which looks much like the old Apollo space capsule for those of you who are old enough to remember (and love) and what the rest of you may have read in history books. If all goes well, sometime in December 2014, an uncrewed Orion will head out beyond the moon's orbit and return. If that is done safely and the ship is proved space worthy, crews will climb aboard once the really robust rocket to launch the fully loaded craft is ready and we will be off on new adventures to asteroids, perhaps back to the moon, and eventually off to Mars.
And who knows, that private company SpaceX may surprise us with their Dragon capsule. It may go farther than the International Space Station before Elon Musk is done. Let's hope so. We could use the competition.