It is a tragedy. The Virgin Galactic spaceship’s crash just after launch is the second space-related incident this week. One of NASA’s rockets exploded just after launch on what should have been a routine voyage to the International Space Station. What makes the Virgin Galactic incident more of a spark for conspiracy circles is that it is private industry beginning to move into what has already been a government-sanctioned area.
The United States government has slowly evolved on its position on the privatization of space travel. Just in the last few years have we seen the first examples of private companies making strides in the industry. The benefits are obvious. One, private companies are not using taxpayer dollars. Two, capitalism can be the mother of invention. The almighty dollar spurs these companies to fierce competition which moves technological advances along at a faster rate than government entities like NASA. These are all positives for you and I, but for the government there is still one huge glaring negative to this. It reduces the government’s ability to control space travel. Up until just lately, space travel was something that was wholly controlled by the government. It simply wasn’t feasible for anyone to do it without their help. That is all changing now, and the Virgin Galactic was another rung on that ladder.
So what are we saying? Well, it’s an unfortunate accident. Throughout NASA’s history, we’ve seen unfortunate accidents. It goes along with trailblazing. It’s just the way it is. New technologies are tested as much as they can, but until they are on the launching pad, no one can ever be sure. Mistakes happen. Mechanical devices fail. This is unavoidable, despite all the precautions put in place. It is the nature of the beast. However, there are those in conspiracy circles that believe that perhaps the government might be sabotaging some of the privatized operations because they don’t want to see them succeed. While there is some sensibility to the theory, there is absolutely no evidence at this time that the Virgin Galactic is anything more than what will probably turn out to be equipment failure. There are no other incidents of private space travel accidents to point to on the record books. While this could be the beginning, for now, we have to say that it looks like there’s nothing here. But if the government shuts down private space travel next week, things might start looking a little different. What do you think?