Pioneering the space frontier is a perilous business.
That was recently underscored by the catastrophic breakup of the commercial Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo and the loss of one of its two pilots in testing the vehicle.
My career as an aircraft pilot and astronaut has been punctuated by both risk-taking and the loss of several close colleagues. The Apollo 1 fire in January 1967 claimed my good friends Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee in a launch pad training exercise.
And it was Gus who had earlier voiced his view of the perils associated with pushing the boundaries of curiosity and exploration:
If we die, we want people to accept it. We’re in a risky business, and we hope that if anything happens to us it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life.
We also cannot forget the lost crews of America’s…
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