Virgin Galactic crash: SpaceShipTwo probe 'may take year'

The investigation into the Virgin Galactic spacecraft crash in California's Mojave Desert could take about a year, the head of the US transport safety agency has said.

Christopher Hart said Virgin Galactic would be able to conduct further test flights while the investigation took place.

SpaceShipTwo broke up in mid-air during a test flight on Friday.

One of the pilots was killed and the other injured.

Virgin chief Sir Richard Branson says he is "determined to find out what went wrong" and learn from the tragedy.

The US National Transportation Safety Board team had completed its first full day of investigation, Mr Hart said, and would be examining evidence at the scene for four to seven days.

He said the craft's debris was spread over an area measuring five miles from end to end.

He told a news conference the test flight had been "heavily documented" and his team would have to trawl through "extensive data", which was why the full investigation could take "about 12 months or so".

He said there were six cameras on the craft itself, with another three on its launcher, an aircraft called WhiteKnightTwo, although it was unclear whether SpaceShipTwo's cameras had been found.

The co-pilot who died when SpaceShipTwo disintegrated shortly after take-off was named as 39-year-old Michael Alsbury.

The pilot who survived was identified as Peter Siebold. Scaled Composites, the company both pilots worked for, said Mr Siebold, 43, was "alert and talking with his family and doctors".

Mr Hart said his team were waiting for doctors to allow them to interview Mr Siebold.