Virgin Galactic is leaning on Edelman through the fatal Oct. 31 crash of its SpaceShipTwo spacecraft in the Mojave Desert.
The Virgin Galactic rocket plane, built by Scaled Composites, broke up during a test flight Friday morning, the CEO of the Mojave Air and Space Port said in a press conference that day. One pilot died while the second is in serious condition after parachuting to the ground.
VG's high profile founder Richard Branson has been a visible presence since the accident, taking part in press conference in New Mexico and appearing on the "Today" show Nov. 3 to acknowledge the "horrible setback" for the deceased pilot and the company. But Branson vowed to "move forward and create a spacecraft company that hopefully one day will be the marvel of the world."
VG was live-tweeting the test flight, as it has others. After a message indicating the plane's engine ignited as expected, a second message followed the said the craft "has experienced an in-flight anomaly."
The company posted a statement later in the day that said the vehicle suffered a "serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle." All press inquiries were directed to Edelman, which picked up the global PR account of VG in April.
Media have jumped on the story with many outlets relating the failed test to the explosion of an unmanned rocket earlier in the week, declaring the episodes serious setbacks for the privatized space craft industry.
The National Transportation Safety Board said a system that rotates the aircraft's tail could have been activated prematurely, causing it to break up. But the federal investigation is ongoing and no cause has been determined.
Virgin Galactic has locked up $90M through the sale of $250,000 tickets, some to prominent figures and celebrities. Branson said at a press conference Nov. 1 that no one had yet demanded a refund.
The company is urging media to reduce speculation as the NTSB conducts an investigation. "We understand that everyone is anxious to understand what happened on Friday; certainly no one wants to know more than we do," VG said in a Nov. 2 statement via Edelman. "However, as we have made clear, Virgin Galactic is not in a position to comment on the incident itself or the test flight. The National Transportation Safety Board is in charge of the investigation and we are cooperating fully with their work."