Friday, October 31, 2014


This is what happens when you take "non-profit" government programs and convert them to "for profit" private sector business ventures. Contracting space travel to the private sector puts the focus on making a bigger profit by cutting costs which compromises the quality of the product and safety.

Authorities in the western U.S. state of California say a space tourism rocket has crashed while on a test flight in the Mojave desert, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another.

The CEO of Virgin Galactic -- founded by British billionaire Richard Branson -- said it will work with the relevant authorities to determine the cause of the accident. Branson said on Twitter that he is flying to California immediately.

The company plans to sell trips on SpaceShipTwo to the edge of space, about 100 kilometers above Earth. Passengers would have a few minutes of weightlessness before returning to Earth.

More than 500 people have already put down deposits to travel in the spacecraft.

When the dust settles what we see is that the space program is now being funded by US taxpayers to entertain the wealthy few with tax-payer funded space rides. 

It is the second accident suffered by a private U.S. space company this week. On Tuesday, an unmanned commercial rocket that was supposed to send a cargo ship to the International Space Station exploded seconds after liftoff from a NASA launch pad in the eastern state of Virginia.

An unmanned rocket owned by private firm Orbital Sciences Corporation exploded Tuesday in a giant fireball and plummeted back to Earth just seconds after a launch from Wallops Island, Virginia on what was to be a resupply mission.

Orbital's Cygnus cargo ship was carrying 5,000 pounds (2,200 kilograms) of supplies for the six astronauts living at the research outpost, a US-led multi-national collaboration.

Officials said the cost of the rocket and supplies was over $200 million, not including the damage caused on the ground.

That's 200 million tax payer dollars up in smoke. The Russians on the other hand are sticking to the tried and true approach and, as they did by being first in space (Sputnik) are now picking up the ball.

Russia on Wednesday successfully launched its own supply mission from the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan.
Europe stopped delivering supplies to the ISS this summer, and the outpost is now resupplied by Russia and two NASA-contracted private American firms -- Space X and Orbital Sciences.