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Strong opposition to new proposed regulation by federal safety board

We’re here to help you! Both the FAA and the rocket industry, led by SpaceX and Blue Origin, have issued detailed written opposition to a proposal by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that it be placed in charge of all future space accident investigations.

The regulations would require companies conducting a launch or reentry under an FAA license or experimental permit to immediately notify the NTSB in the event of a mishap. The NTSB would conduct an investigation to determine the probable cause and provide recommendations to avoid similar events in the future.

The opposition notes that this will merely duplicate what the industry and the FAA already do. The rocket industry also noted that the NTSB’s present investigation responsibilities are aimed at helping the mature airline industry, not “a nascent industrial sector that is still in development, and is appropriately regulated as such.”

It appears that there is also opposition in the halls of Congress, as two congressmen have expressed their own opposition.

Without doubt the NTSB’s action here has been encouraged by the Biden administration. Democrats always want more regulation to enhance the power of government. Since Biden and his Democratic Party handlers took over, the federal bureaucracy’s effort to regulate and hinder space activities has definitely increased, such as its efforts to block SpaceX’s Starship development at Boca Chica.

Had the NTSB tried to propose this during the Trump administration it would have been quickly quashed. For example, when NOAA tried to claim it had the right to regulate all orbital photography and the Trump administration told them no, in no uncertain terms.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

2 comments

  • Col Beausabre

    You have to consider the types of people who join regulatory agencies. Some are motivated by a genuine desire to improve public safety and the results for society. But. there is also a segment that just lusts for power. Simply put they join regulatory agencies out of a desire to regulate (ie: exercise power) and glory in being petty tyrants

    I believe the current term for the females of the breed are known as “Karens”

    They’d tell us, that we (the great unwashed) should be grateful that they deign to put their superior intellect and knowledge to work in such a fashion.

    On the other hand, Winston Churchill had a story about a functionary at the Foreign Office whose sole job was to predict if a major war would occur that year. He had been appointed in the Edwardian Era and retired when Elizabeth II was on the throne. At his retirement dinner it was announced he had consistently predicted in the negative for his entire term of office and, admirably, he had “only been wrong twice” in thar entire period – 1914 and 1939

  • D Parker

    I don’t know the specific reasons that the space industry opposes this, they may be excellent reasons. However, unless I am mistaken, the NTSB does not issue regulations in response to accident investigations, it issues recommendations to the relevant authority. So it issues recommendations to the the FAA for air accidents, the Coast Guard for vessel accidents, etc. The authority agency is under no obligation to implement the recommendations, or even to respond publicly. This structure was deliberately created to avoid power seeking and blame avoidance corruption of the investigations, and it is generally successful in my opinion. So NTSB investigations do not necessarily lead to more regulation, and certainly don’t feed power hunger in the NTSB. They don’t get to order anybody to do anything.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but currently neither the FAA nor NASA does any of the data gathering of space accident investigations, relying instead on the operator to provide all the data. In the few cases that I have examined the operator also provides a lot of the engineering analysis, so the agency role is mostly one of reviewing the investigation, not conducting it. Contrast this with marine investigations which are conducted by the Coast Guard, with the results being audited by the NTSB. In the case of space incidents there is an argument to be made that NTSB doing the investigations would be an improvement in reduced likelihood of bias.

    However, the argument that the space industry is immature and official investigation is therefore premature makes a lot of sense to me. The value of NTSB’s contribution to air saftey came decades after commercial air travel was literally an everyday activity. That day may be approaching for space travel, but it is still some way off.

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