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In brief: Spaceship descent device deployed early

From Wire Reports

MOJAVE, Calif. – Investigators say Virgin Galactic’s experimental spaceship broke apart in flight over California’s Mojave Desert after a device to slow the craft’s descent prematurely deployed.

National Transportation Safety Board acting chairman Christopher Hart said Sunday that while no cause for Friday’s crash has been determined, investigators found the “feathering” system was activated before the craft reached the appropriate speed.

The system requires a two-step process to deploy. The co-pilot unlocked the system but Hart said the second step occurred “without being commanded.”

Hart said the SpaceShipTwo’s fuel tanks and engines showed no signs of being compromised.

The co-pilot was killed. The pilot parachuted to the ground and is hospitalized.

Another doctor tests positive for Ebola

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone – Authorities in Sierra Leone said Sunday that another doctor there has tested positive for Ebola, marking a setback for efforts to keep desperately needed health care workers safe in the West African country ravaged by the deadly virus.

Government Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brima Kargbo confirmed on Sunday that a fifth doctor in Sierra Leone had tested positive. The other four all have died from the virus that has killed nearly 5,000 across West Africa.

The sick physician has been identified as Dr. Godfrey George, medical superintendent of Kambia Government Hospital in northern Sierra Leone. He was driven to the capital, Freetown, after reporting he wasn’t feeling well.

Doctors and nurses have been the most vulnerable to contracting Ebola, as the virus is spread through bodily fluids. Some 523 health workers have contracted Ebola, and about half of them have died.

France said it was treating a U.N. employee who had contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone.

France’s government announced in a statement late Saturday that a U.N. employee had been evacuated there by a special flight and was undergoing treatment in “high-security isolation” in the Begin Army Training Hospital in Saint-Mande, near Paris.

It didn’t identify the patient or the U.N. agency where the patient works.

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