October 31, 2014 by JImbo
It’s been a really Bad Week in Space Exploration.
First an Orbital Sciences rocket blew up on launch.
No one was injured.
Then the new Virgin Atlantic “Spaceship Two” had an inflight “anomaly” that killed one person and injured another.
While the loss of life was tragic, these things happen. The pilot died FLYING A SPACESHIP PROTOTYPE! Who gets to do that? He was literally an astronaut.
I’m not concerned about the programs going on. Virgin and Orbital (along with other companies like SpaceX and Sierra Nevada) have lots of money invested in private spaceflight.
They have successfully launched quite a few payloads into orbit already. They have the technology. They are arguably SAFER than many traditional NASA programs.
My concern is that regulation will kill them and their innovation. The usual response these days to tragedy is “MORE REGULATION!!!” That’s the WRONG move.
That’s how NASA got into trouble. Too little risk and too much bureaucracy. In fact, it was a huge bureaucracy and TOO MANY regulations and levels of interference in the space program that helped cause the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle accidents.
Let the innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs mourn their loss. Give them time to modify their procedures and update their equipment. Then, let them decide when it’s safe to try again.
They will. I have no doubt of that. And they will succeed.
If the government doesn’t kill their dreams beforehand.