Pajamas has covered extensively the end of the ability of the United States to put astronauts into orbit and those advocating privatization of the space program.
An unmanned private spacecraft built by Blue Origin, a company funded by Amazon.com billionaire Jeff Bezos, catastrophically failed last week. The Wall Street Journal:
The vertical takeoff and landing spacecraft, developed by closely held Blue Origin LLC, was on a suborbital flight from the company’s West Texas spaceport last week, these officials said, when ground personnel lost contact and control of the vehicle. The exact nature and cause of the failure were unclear, but remnants of the spacecraft could provide clues for investigators. . . .
The serious malfunctions, which haven’t been disclosed by the company or reported previously, also could set back White House plans to promote a range of commercially developed spacecraft to transport crews to the International Space Station by the second half of this decade.
Championed by President Barack Obama’s administration, the goal is to support a number of rival projects, including Blue Origin, to ensure that in the end the U.S. will have alternatives to reach the orbiting station, following last month’s permanent retirement of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s space shuttle fleet.
Obama’s decisions on space, like these, now jeopardize the viability of the International Space Station. More at the WSJ:
SpaceX, as Mr. Musk’s company is known, is years behind in testing its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon space capsule. But if all goes well, the Hawthorne, Calif., start-up could initiate regular cargo deliveries to the station next year.
That’s encouraging. Years behind, but “if all goes well” maybe next year cargo can be delivered to the space station. Maybe by then I’ll get that flying car I’ve been waiting for.