I have been doing a lot of media relating to the crash of Spaceship Two and the future of New Mexico’s spaceport (much of it British and other out-of-state publications. My view of the crash has been that if it was pilot error or one, easily-fixed mechanical problem, we could see flights in the not-too-distant future, but if there were a series of problems, the situation may be completely un-salvageable.
Well, according to this new story from the Wall Street Journal, it looks like the latter is the case. According to the article, the problems at Virgin Galactic were significant, ongoing, involved the very basis of the a variety of the technologies being implemented, and often covered-up by Richard Branson who nonetheless repeatedly offered rosy launch timelines. This is most definitely bad news for New Mexico.
It is hard to say what, if anything, New Mexicans can salvage out of Spaceport America. The good news is that it will provide limited government advocates an ongoing reminder of government’s inability to predict the “next big thing.”