Virgin Galactic Crash Casts Doubt On Viability Of Space Tourism Industry

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fiery failures are no stranger to the space game. It’s what happens when you push the boundaries of what technology can do, where people can go. And it happened again to Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo.

In the past decade, the space industry has tried to go from risky and government-run to routine private enterprise — so routine that if you have lots of money you can buy a ticket on a private spaceship and become a space tourist. More than 500 people have booked a flight, including Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher and little known space scientist Alan Stern.

But it all depends on flying becoming safe and routine. This week hasn’t helped.

Three days after a private unmanned rocket taking cargo up to the International Space Station blew up six seconds into its flight, a test flight of SpaceShipTwo exploded Friday over the Mojave Desert with two people on board.

The developments reignited the debate about the role of business in space and whether it is or will ever be safe enough for everyday people looking for an expensive 50-mile-high thrill ride.

“It’s a real setback to the idea that lots of people are going to be taking joyrides into the fringes of —> Read More Here


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