Space Missions Are Never "Routine"

November 4, 2014 4:27 PM

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This past week we had a sad and harsh reminder that when it comes to space exploration, no undertaking can be considered "ordinary," and success is never guaranteed.

On Friday, Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip Two exploded in California's Mojave Desert, killing one pilot and badly injuring a second one (Figure 1). This was apparently the result of a device intended to slow down the spaceship, operating too soon.

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