Can private space survive two explosions in four days?

Fiery failures are no stranger to the space game. It’s what happens when you push the boundaries of what technology can do, where people can go. And it happened again Friday to Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo.

In the past decade, the space industry has tried to go from risky and government-run to routine private enterprise — so routine that if you have lots of money you can buy a ticket on a private spaceship.

But it all depends on flying becoming safe and routine. This week hasn’t helped.

Three days after a private unmanned rocket taking cargo up to the International Space Station blew up, a test flight of SpaceShipTwo exploded over the Mojave Desert with two people on board.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

The developments reignited the debate about the role of business in space and whether it is or will ever be safe.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal