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Friday, October 31, 2014

SpaceShipTwo implications

The crash of SpaceShipTwo in a test flight reminds me of these words a few years ago from Paul Spudis:
But what will happen to a commercial space tourism market after the first fatal accident? New Space advocates often tout their indifference to danger, but such bravado is neither a common nor wise attitude in today’s lawsuit-happy society (not to mention, the inevitable loss of confidence from a limited customer base). My opinion is that after the first major accident with loss of life, a nascent space tourism industry will become immersed in an avalanche of litigation and will probably fully or partly collapse under the ensuing financial burden. We are no longer the barnstorming America of the 1920’s and spaceflight is much more difficult than aviation.
Me: And this tragic failure of a suborbital test flight, of course, occurs even before commercial space tourism has really gotten anywhere. That industry has been slower to emerge than many expected a decade ago, and this sure isn't going to speed it up.

1 comment:

Ray Haupt said...

I have for quite some time been a skeptic of the idea of space flight as a tourist industry. It is terribly expensive and just where are tourists going to go? On the other hand, if wealthy adventurers are willing to fork over millions for the novelty of a few weightless days on a space station, or even a walk on the Moon, that is fine by me since such expenditures will cause space engineering to be refined and hopefully will advance technology by underwriting scientific space stations and Moon colonies and even one day Men on Mars.

I look forward to the day that Outer Space Tourism can boast of the first McDonald's and other cuisine. One thing would be certain is that the hotels could offer a Room With a View!