November 25, 2014


Obviously there is lots of commentary out there going on about what happened to the Antares Rocket during the Orb-3 launch. It’s going to take time, and patience, to find out what happened… But I don’t want to talk about the engineering or mechanics or any of that… I want to give you all some insight into how I see this and why it is that my reactions & feelings to it are what they are…

That Orbital Science Antares rocket that was sitting on the launch pad at Wallops Island is not just a rocket… It’s not just some metal and mechanisms carrying some hardware, some consumables and some science… It is so much more. That Antares rocket with Cygnus atop, like other rockets from various sources, represents passion, hard work, innovation and perhaps most importantly… love for space and exploration. It represents hours, years and even decades of hard work from dedicated individuals. It represents the blood, sweat and tears of many many people. So everything from the actual rocket to the science and consumables inside is so much more than just “stuff” to me.

For me it’s all about the people. Everything in life to me is about the people. Orb-3 was about the people.

This is a time for the space community to come together and remember that Spaceflight is never easy! It’s always a challenge. At a time like this when the space family has been rocked by an incident like this, I can’t help but think of some words that just so happened to have been said by none other than Orbital Science’s Frank Culbertson… At the Space Rotary Awards in his speech he spoke of (and I am going to paraphrase for fear of misquoting!) how the space community is just that a community not just an industry. I couldn’t agree more! We are a community of people who are in the business of space because we love it, we have a passion for it. I feel so incredibly lucky to be part of this community.

Now and in the coming months is a time for this community to band together. Did I mention spaceflight isn’t easy? How many times have we all heard that from so many people? It’s not easy but it’s certainly worth it! And now is a time that we can all band together and learn from this incident and come rocketing out the other side with newfound knowledge that helps us in our journey off this planet.

Yes, watching Orb-3 explode right in front of my eyes was heartbreaking. But I will also tell you what has been so incredibly heart warming… In days following I have watched folks show such resolution and determination to find the root of this problem and to never stop exploring… never stop pushing the edge of the envelope.

I am so proud to be part of the space community… so proud to be part of the space family…

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