Private rockets to space… and the Halloween accident

On October 31, a deadly high-altitude accident destroyed the SS2 space plane. The test flight had been conducted by one of several private spaceship companies founded by multi-billionaires and receiving taxpayer dollars. A bewildering error by the co-pilot, who died, made the experimental ship disintegrate after being dropped by its mother plane at 45,000 feet. It was a disastrous setback.

The space companies are attempting different things. One has already successfully sent unmanned freight supply ships to the International Space Station (ISS). A couple of others, led by people like Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and . . .

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