Los Angeles (AFP) – A rocket science safety expert on Sunday said Virgin Galactic “ignored” safety warnings in the years leading up to the deadly crash of its spacecraft in California, as investigators hunted for clues to accident’s cause.
Carolynne Campbell, a rocket propulsion expert with the Netherlands-based International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety, said she could not speculate on the cause of Friday’s crash without “all the data.”
However, she said multiple warnings had been issued to Virgin since 2007, when three engineers died testing a rocket on the ground.
“Based on the work we’ve done, including me writing a paper on the handling of nitrous oxide, we were concerned about what was going on at Virgin Galactic,” she told AFP.
In the wake of the crash of Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship Two, presumably due to a malfunction in its rocket motor, there is an awful lot of speculation, and of course, “experts” have to pop up and give their input.
And of course, people who read this article have to jump to the conclusion that VG was negligent or otherwise at fault.
But here’s the thing- based on this article, we have no information that would genuinely inform that opinion.
Ms. Campbell may well be a genuine expert on rocket safety. Or she may just work for a storefront. We simply don’t know based on the article.
Further, we have no way of knowing if the warnings she supposedly sent to VG were in any way relevant to the design, manufacture, and testing of the VG hybrid rocket system.
The NTSB will likely take a year or more to conclude its investigation. Real experts will wait to examine it in detail before pronouncing judgment.