Virgin Galactic SpaceShip EXPLODES Pilot Dead

10/31/2014 11:48 AM PDT

A Virgin Galactic spaceship exploded during a test flight Friday over California's Mojave Desert  ... leaving one crew member dead and another severely injured.

Virgin Galactic says their SpaceShipTwo experienced "an in-flight anomaly" after it launched at 9:15 AM.

The spacecraft is launched after it is released from another aircraft in flight.  According to reports the spaceship blew up shortly after the release and it's engines ignited.

The plane that released the spacecraft landed safely.

The spaceship is designed to go 62 miles above Earth. It's unclear how high the doomed craft was when it blew up.

A bunch of celebs have reportedly signed up for the initial launch already -- including Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and Justin Bieber.

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson tweeted about the incident, saying he planned to fly to Mojave immediately to be with the team.

Story developing ...