Escape System Could Safeguard Space Tourists

Personal Spaceflight: How Safe Need it Be?
Commercial Space Gateway

I was fascinated recently to learn about Robert Talmage, President of TAAS Company in Acworth, GA, and patent holder for an Aircraft Escape Cabin (AEC) designed for use on high-performance aircraft and space planes. His goal is to develop a practical and reliable escape system for vehicles traveling at very high speeds and at altitudes between about 225 meters and low Earth orbit. His business plan includes validating the AEC concept using a modified Learjet as a flight test platform and subsequently for development and testing support of new efficient propulsion systems ideally suited for aircraft style operations.


How Safe is Aviation? Don’t Ask NASA…

NASA Safety Survey a Mystery
Associated Press

Years after thousands of pilots told NASA about their in-flight safety experiences and NASA shut down the survey without divulging any findings, the pilots’ views remain a mystery.


Audit Criticizes NASA for Handling of Aviation Safety Survey

NASA’s Office of Inspector General released a stinging report on Monday criticizing the agency’s handling of an important air-safety survey project.

“NASA shut down a massive air-safety survey project without ever properly evaluating, explaining or publicizing its purpose and results, and thus lost a chance for valuable insight into safety issues,” the Associated Press reports.

The OIG report says that NASA should conduct additional analysis on the results of its interviews with 30,000 pilots. The study revealed serious concerns about aviation safety in the United States.

NASA has rejected the idea, saying that the interviews, which ended in 2004, are old and less relevant now. The space agency said it would evaluate the methodology used to collect the information, which some experts have criticized as insufficiently thorough. OIG said NASA failed to give proper direction to the contractor, Battelle Memorial Institute, that collected the data.

The AP fought with NASA for 14 months over the release of the data, with the space agency rejecting a Freedom of Information request. NASA eventually relented to Congressional pressure, but it released only partial data during a hastily-called 1 p.m. press conference on New Year’s Eve. Critics say the partial data release provided little perspective for the public in understanding the survey or its results.