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Virgin and Antares spacecraft crashes may cost insurers up to $50 million each

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Two recent spacecraft losses, insured in the aviation market, are expected to cost insurers up to $50 million each, insurance industry experts say.

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crashed in the Mojave Desert in California on Oct. 31 during a test flight, killing one of the two pilots aboard.

The cause of the crash still is being investigated.

Insurance coverage for SpaceShipTwo was placed by Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group P.L.C. and led by American International Group Inc.

The insured loss is expected to be between $40 million and $50 million, experts say.

Earlier the same week an unmanned rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station exploded shortly after takeoff at NASA's Wallops Island flight facility in Virginia.

Coverage for the Antares rocket, built and launched by Orbital Sciences Corp., was placed by Willis Group Holdings P.L.C. in London.

An insured loss of up to $50 million is expected, experts say. It's unclear who led the coverage on the Antares rocket.