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Antares explosion, SpaceSpaceTwo crash and future of private space exploration

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Published on Nov 6, 2014

With two recent disasters involving private spacecraft and rockets, there has been a lot of talk in the media about the future of private space exploration. As I firmly believe that private space exploration is the way of the future, I feel compelled to give my thoughts along these lines.

This video was recorded on two separate days. On the morning after the recent SpaceShipTwo crash (November 2nd, Sydney time), I recorded an on camera video in which I offer my condolences to the family and friends of Michael Alsbury and pray for the safe recovery of Peter Siebold. I discuss how there are always risks involved in aviation, and that with every aviation disaster changes are made to try and ensure they do not happen again. And I hope that these disasters will not delay private space exploration.

This video was ready for release on November 3rd. But on that day I learned of something that could change everything. Apparently, since 2007, rocket scientists from the Netherlands-based International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety had been sending Virgin Galactic warning about using nitrous oxide fuel. One of these scientists Carolyne Campbell has gone on record to say that Virgin ignored these warnings. At the time of my writing this, it is unclear whether or not nitrous oxide was used. All we know is that this was the first flight test involving a new nylon based propellent.

For the sake of the future of private space exploration, I pray that nitrous oxide was NOT used on the fatal SpaceShipTwo flight. If it was, it may end the future of private space exploration as we know it. As former Morton Thiokol engineer Roger Boisjoly once told me in an interview: if you have people who are your technical experts jumping up and down raising hell trying to stop the launch and being ignored, when something goes wrong you can't turn around and say it was an accident.

Being a government agency, NASA has been able to get away with negligence, murder and recklessness that would have led to them being shut down permanently if they were a private organization. For the record, I do not believe that Mark Alsbury was murdered. But if he died because warnings were ignored, it could lead to Virgin Galactic being shut down. In the past there have been many commercial airliners that have been shutdown because of repeated safety violations, I don't want to see any private space company suffer the same fate. This video is now an open plea to Virgin Galactic that they do not try to follow in NASA's dark footsteps.

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