Friday, October 31, 2014

somber week

This is very disturbing. Orbital's rocket for the International Space Station failed at launch. VSS Enterprise exploded in air. What's going on?

Orbital Science's is investigating. It's not clear yet what happened. Possibly an issue with the AJ26 engines. Early reports indicate the damage to the Wallops Island launch pad is not as bad as first expected.

Virgin's rocket plane was testing a new type of fuel in a slightly redesigned motor. Possibly there was an issue with that. The Federal Aviation Administration is involved.

I wonder what public perceptions will be with these back-to-back incidents. Will they claim the risks in commercial spaceflight are too great? The "space is hard" messages from Orbital and Virgin and others are a little hollow right now.

I thought of the Apollo 1 crew. The two crews of the shuttles. The Russian cosmonauts who gave their lives. And other pilots and engineers and support staff. Certainly there will be lessons learned and a new level of safety and caution.

It is hard to absorb this all at once.

Not a good day. Not a good week.

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