The chief executive of Virgin Galactic has said "space is hard and today was a tough day" after the company's SpaceShipTwo crashed in the Mojave desert during a test flight, killing one of the two pilots on board.
"We are going to be supporting the investigation as we figure out what happened today and we're going to get through it," George Whiteside said at a news conference at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.
Mr Whiteside confirmed Virgin chief Sir Richard Branson would be arriving to join the team on Saturday morning local time.
"The future rests in many ways on hard days like this," he added. "But we believe we owe it to the folks who are flying these vehicles and the folks who have been working so hard on them to understand this and move forward, which is what we'll do."
Faced with a five-mile debris trail and masses of technical data, the team investigating the crash of SpaceShipTwo have their work cut out.
The loss is a tragedy for this small tight-knit team that dreams of making the trip into space accessible to travellers not just astronauts.