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Explosion at Mojave Airport

Not only were two people were killed and four others critically injured, but there' s also the fear that toxic materials were released:

The blast at a Mojave Air and Space Port facility belonging to Scaled Composites LLC also left some toxic material, said Kern County fire Capt. Doug Johnston.

Scaled is the Mojave-based builder of SpaceShipOne, the first private manned rocket to reach space, and is developing a successor for the new space tourism business Virgin Galactic.

Aerospace designer Burt Rutan, who heads Scaled, told The Associated Press he had no information and was heading to the scene.

Video news helicopters showed wrecked equipment and vehicles at the airport in the high desert north of Los Angeles near Edwards Air Force Base. The blast site was in a remote unpaved section of the airport.

It was not immediately clear what caused the blast, said Tony Diffenbaugh, an inspector with the fire department.

Kern County fire crews and bomb experts were headed to the scene, where there was concern that airport personnel could be exposed to hazardous materials, said sheriff's Deputy Vince Martinez.


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Comments (4)

Scaled is the Moja... (Below threshold)
marc:
Scaled is the Mojave-based builder of SpaceShipOne, the first private manned rocket to reach space, and is developing a successor for the new space tourism business Virgin Galactic.
MeThinks the price tag on the first manned mission just dropped.
If it was hardware, I'm thi... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

If it was hardware, I'm thinking it won't happen in the Mark 2 version. If it was human error... well, they'll do what they can to make it idiot proof and emphazise safety procedures.

This is the price of progress. When air travel first started, it was hellishly unsafe - but we learned, we learned. We pay for the knowledge in money, and very often in blood.

I just hope some "safety"-m... (Below threshold)

I just hope some "safety"-minded mental-midget does not get his hands on this, and somehow make Scaled's life even more complicated than it undoubtedly is now. JLawson hit the nail right on the head - you make things as safe and as carefully as you can, but no matter what you do, accidents will still happen. And when you are playing with equipment and chemicals that are meant to lob things into LEO... well, the accidents stand a pretty good chance of being spectacular.

However, if commercial orbital enterprises start getting stymied as much as NASA has been by their accidents... well, we may as well get comfortable here.

As a resident of Kern Count... (Below threshold)

As a resident of Kern County (lived in Bakersfield), I'm interested. Edwards AFB is where a lot of aviation records have been broken...

Interesting, in the early days of ANYTHING having to do with engineering there have always been problems. Which is why professional groups get together to create national standards they all can follow (Such as ASME Pressure Vessel Codes following a number of shipboard boiler explosions).




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