Scaled fined for July accident

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (aka Cal/OSHA) has fined Scaled Composites for safety violations identified in the aftermath of the July accident that killed three employees at Mojave Airport. Cal/OSHA fined Scaled $25,780 for failing to properly train its employees about the dangers of nitrous oxide, the chemical that is used as the oxidizer on its hybrid rocket engines. Although the summary of the accident has not been completed (nor is any information about the fines posted on the Cal/OSHA web site, as far as I can find), Cal/OSHA officials confirmed to the AP that the July 27 accident was a nitrous oxide explosion.

The report should allow Scaled to help close the door on the accident (although it’s unclear if the company faces any additional government action or lawsuits from the injured or the families of the dead). It also comes less than a week before Virgin Galactic and Scaled unveil the new designs of White Knight Two and SpaceShipTwo in New York.

1 comment to Scaled fined for July accident

  • Carolynne Campbell

    Allow Scaled to ‘close the door’? What about the rest of us working with powerful hybrids? The recent pess-release promises to share results with ‘the industry’. A little sharing of facts would be a good start. The report delivers nothing of any use in aiding others to improve safety. We’ve been using inert gas and blow-off systems for three years and yet Scaled has only just figured those things out.
    We could well be doing something we shouldn’t be doing. Do we just close our program, carry on regardless, or insist that the data be made public? The latter is the only reasonable course.
    Scientists share and publish results as a matter of professional ethics. When the data relate to safety, public obligation must take precedence oover commercial secrecy. I don’t believe for one moment that Mr. Rutan is at the root of this, his credentials are impeccable – but then he doesn’t call the shots at Scaled Composites now the big boys have stepped in.

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