Capitalism in space: According to a book to be published in May, Virgin Galactic had serious previously unrevealed problems during its 2019 manned flight of VSS Unity, ist 2nd SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceship, problems that could have killed all on board.
[W]hen the ground crew wheeled the suborbital spacecraft back into the hangar, company officials discovered that a seal running along a stabilizer on the wing designed to keep the space plane flying straight had come undone — a potentially serious safety hazard. “The structural integrity of the entire stabilizer was compromised,” Todd Ericson, a test pilot who also served as a vice president for safety and test, said, according to a soon-to-be-published book. “I don’t know how we didn’t lose the vehicle and kill three people.”
Much more at the link. It does appear that the company was not doing due diligence prior to the flight, signing off inspections without actually doing those inspections.
The issue caused the long delay since that flight. That it was kept secret as the company went public and offered its stock for sale likely breaks some SEC laws.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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