Discussion: Virgin Galactic spaceship has in-flight problem

Discussion for article #229585

Free enterprise has FU’s too?

Like the rocket bearing supplies to the ISStation?



Crossing my fingers hoping the pilot is OK.

Test Pilot isn’t a safe occupation.


I have little use for space exploration believing that we have enough to worry about terrestrially, but if we’re going to continue sending scientists the ISS, privatising the transport (or letting “filthy foreigners” do it) was never a good idea. It’s not quite the same as privatizing commuter rail, but neither one is a good idea.

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The transition to the future isn’t always a smooth one. Best wishes to all involved.


My thoughts are with anyone hurt or killed in this accident. I must say that I will leave space tourism to others with moire intestinal fortitude than I have.


privatizing space travel is the only way it’s going to really take a leap forward. Accidents will happen, it’s inevitable. Sitting on a controlled explosion (or having one right behind you) is always going to be risky business.


Condolences to the loved ones and friends of the deceased. Best wishes for the injured pilot. These people are the best of the best.

And we aren’t going to solve most of those problems without extraterrestrial resources. Without Helium III from the moon, we aren’t going to have fusion power soon enough to do any good, without SPS we aren’t going to be able to supplant coal with solar…the list goes on. It won’t help poor people if we spend the pennies we save from not funding exploration to feed them the last few bites of Soylent Green.

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Can we see the flurry of news opinions deciding that the private sector maybe can’t do it better than NASA can after all - ?

Can someone from TPM please tell me why “accident” gets quotes in this situation but not when someone leaves a loaded “child’s rifle” out in the open where a 5 year old can pick it up and blow his 2 year old sister’s brains all over the yard?


Icarus speaks a word of caution to the world once again.

We should also cancel all funding for art, music, and anything to do with enriching the culture of the people on the planet. Funding for public universities should be restricted to the things we have to “worry about terrestrially.”

Americans spend more of video games than they do on NASA’s budget, and enormously more on sports related purchases. Hell, they spend the equivalent over half of NASA’s budget on perfume, and far more then NASA’s budget on cosmetics as a whole. The $17 billion we invest in NASA is a tiny amount compared to our spending as a whole. But of course–to some people–even that tiny amount is too much.


If you have been paying attention to what NASA itself is spending to develop its own next spacecraft, you would not be arguing against private companies like SpaceX being used for the taxi rides.

I’m against privatization in most things, but the problems with NASA are huge and possibly insurmountable when it comes to them trying to build affordable spacecraft for routine “commuter space” flights as opposed to developing the cutting edge stuff and undertaking advanced missions.

The development time-frames are too long, so changes in administrations and congressional funding keeps setting them back to square one every time, which adds and adds to the cost… and each politician wants a chunk done in their district, etc. The result is a compromised vehicle that is delayed and astoundingly overpriced.

Add to that the fact that NASA doesn’t actually build ANYTHING, the private companies build it, often the very same ones that are doing the “private” ones only they get the hugely overpriced taxpayer handout.

The core problem is that NASA was conceived and structured as an administration to do experimental science, but they are being tasked to do operational, non-experimental things.

At some point a science agency has to stop building its own cars for its workers to drive to work in… and we are at that point. It’s going to be a bit messy, but afterwards NASA can hopefully get back to its REAL mission - very advanced R&D, and space science.


The ISS payload was using refurbished 40 year old Soviet propulsion.

Time for the US to but American.

We got so many useful inventions from NASA’s space program and I expect we will get many more from privately funded space programs. I don’t know why people expect these things to be absolutely accident free. Planes still crash and they have been around for nearly a century. Testing new limits is what inspires us but it is often dangerous.


It wasn’t the US buying a 40 year old engine, it was Orbital Sciences buying them. Yes, the engines were actually 40 years old–no just the designs (as I’ve seen them called in the press.) That decision certainly bit them in the ass.

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If they abandon the Space Launch System (SLS), maybe they can turn back to doing what their mandate was. That project is a mind numbing waste of money.

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Looks like they were quoting Branson, read the whole paragraph.

I read the whole sentence (it’s not really a paragraph even though it is set off like one) and it contains no other quoting of Branson, making the quoting of the word “accident” look like it was done with the whole air-quotes thing going on. In fact, in the context of that sentence, the only reason to quote Branson is because TPM didn’t want to own the word “accident” and appear to be agreeing with him.