Washington, D.C. – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) today released a statement following a Committee briefing on the ongoing investigations of the recent Antares rocket failure and SpaceShipTwo crash.
The Committee was briefed by the Chairman of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), Vice Adm. Joseph Dyer, and the Acting Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Mr. Christopher Hart.
Chairman Smith and Palazzo: “The recent incidents were a sobering reminder that space exploration is an inherently risky undertaking. That is why we must take every opportunity to learn from these incidents as we move forward. Today’s briefing is part of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s interest that these investigations be conducted in the most thorough, transparent, and independent manner possible. We will continue working closely with all relevant parties as these investigations progress."
Congress established the ASAP in 1968 to observe NASA operations and decision-making and advise the agency on ways to improve safety. Although the company responsible for the October 28th launch, Orbital Sciences Corporation, is currently leading its own investigation, the ASAP provided members of the Committee with relevant findings and recommendations, with particular focus on the Antares failure.
The Federal Aviation Administration has delegated investigation of the October 31st Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crash to the NTSB, marking the first time the Board has led an investigation related to a space launch.
The Committee will continue its oversight work with all entities involved once the two investigations are completed.