“That’s gone, ” said William Gerstenmaier, a NASA associate administrator, of the money lost when the SpaceX rocket failed on June 28 far above Florida’s coast.
The Hawthorne, California-based company is leading an investigation into the cause of the failure.
On Friday, some members of the House Science, Space and Technology committee questioned whether the company should be investigating its own failure.
Gerstenmaier explained that NASA, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, are also involved in the investigation. The government has the authority to tell SpaceX it doesn’t agree with the findings, he said.
At the hearing, Paul Martin, NASA’s inspector general, said that his office was looking at whether the agency’s private contractors should be leading investigations into their own accidents.
A similar corporate-led investigation is continuing into the earlier destruction of another rocket carrying tons of food and other supplies to the space station. That cargo ship, which exploded just seconds after liftoff on Oct. 28, was operated by Orbital Sciences, which is now known as Orbital ATK.
SpaceX and Orbital ATK are part of NASA’s plan to use private contractors to carry cargo and astronauts to low-earth orbit while it focuses on longer distant space exploration, including eventually taking humans to Mars.
Gerstenmaier told the panel that after the loss of two cargo-carrying rockets, NASA is considering whether it should require the companies to take out insurance to cover losses now borne by taxpayers.
Denis Masi: Angela Flowers Gallery, 11 Tottenham Mews, London W1, May 5-May 30 1981 : Spacex Gallery, 45 Preston Street, Exeter, October 9-Novemeber 7 ... Liverpool L1 3BX January 9-February 5 1982
Book (Spacex Gallery)
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