The National Space Society vision is people living and working in space

July 27, 2007

NSS Statement on Accident at Scaled Composites

America was built on the courage of those who dared to explore new frontiers.  From Lewis and Clark to the Apollo astronauts, great men and women have tested themselves against the frontiers of their age.

In the course of their efforts, these heroes may pay the ultimate cost, as they did yesterday in Mojave.  When that happens, it is the highest duty of all of us to care for the injured, to mourn the departed, and to care for the families.  An honest investigation must be conducted to learn what went wrong, and to fix the cause so that it does not happen again.

But when the investigation finished, our duty is to carry on the work of those heroes, to redouble our efforts to scale the peaks that they were climbing.  That is what we learned from Apollo 1.  That is what they would want.

The frontier of space is far from tamed.  The men and women of Scaled Composites are engaged in one of the great efforts of our time: opening space for all humanity.  That is a noble pursuit, perhaps the most noble of all, and we must all be thankful for their work, and for their sacrifice.

Let us not shirk from what happened yesterday.  Professionals will find the cause.  The program will continue.  The effort to open space cannot be stopped.  Now is the time to honor those men by honoring the cause that they were engaged in.  Those of us who are part of this great endeavor, whether as participants or as supporters, let us carry forward this message of perseverance to our own communities, to our elected leaders and to the media.  Now more than ever, the nation needs to hear your voices.


About the National Space Society

The National Space Society (NSS) is an independent, grassroots organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization.  Founded in 1974, NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen's voice on space.  NSS counts thousands of members and over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world.

The society publishes the award-winning quarterly magazine Ad Astra and also produces the annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC).  For more information on Ad Astra, the ISDC, or the society, please visit:

George T. Whitesides
Executive Director
phone: (202) 429-1600

Jeremy Pyle
Vice President of Public Affairs
National Space Society
phone: (415) 713-6272

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