Remembering the past, planning for the future

In this week’s issue of The Space Review, Tim Pickens recalls his good friend, Glen May, one of the three people who died in the explosion Thursday in Mojave. The two had worked together on the SpaceShipOne propulsion development effort several years ago. “Anyone who has seen SpaceShipOne tested or flown should think of Glen,” Tim writes. “He was involved in about every aspect of that program.”

Last week’s accident raises another question: what will happen when there’s an actual spacecraft accident, one that may involve the death of the people onboard? I review a session of the recent NewSpace 2007 conference that covered this issue from the viewpoints of the investigator, insurer, attorney, and industry official. While it’s a scenario no one is fond of thinking about, it is something that has to be considered and planned for; fortunately, people in the industry are doing that.

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