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.”
2 Replies to “WSJ article provides devastating critique of Virgin Galactic and NM Spaceport”
My company, Satwest, which has not been covered by the Rio Grande Foundation for some reason, has been working with Virgin Galactic for around 5 years. Satwest was going to fly our Internet in Space experiment onboard Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip 2 spacecraft within the next 6 months.
Virgin Galactic is a solid company with VERY impressive people. If anyone can achieve rocket science successfully, they can do it.
Gessing’s opinion piece is uninformed and naive and disappointing. The space business is hard, but America should be the leader just like we did with aviation 100 years ago. New Mexico is and will be a leader in the commercial space business as long as leaders out number the naive.
America should indeed be a leader in space and RGF is supportive of the privatization of space exploration. That has nothing to do with demanding that New Mexico’s taxpayers spend hundreds of millions of dollars to build a spaceport. There are plenty of existing facilities (like former Air Force bases) that could be transitioned for use in the space industry. There is no reason to build an entire spaceport in the middle of the desert.