According to the preliminary investigations, the likely cause of the Virgin Galactic disaster was that the SpaceShipTwo tail system deployed prematurely.
The unique tail section – which “feathers” at an angle to help the spacecraft make a safe descent – deployed as it was ascending without being ordered to do so. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says SpaceShipTwo broke apart just two seconds after this “feathering” system was deployed.
Meanwhile, E&T news reported recently on how although this re-entry device was at fault for accident, many experts are still concerned about Virgin’s hybrid engine.
Click on the graphic for an expanded view.