Last month when Boeing and SpaceX announced the primary astronauts who will fly on their industrial group spacecraft, a number of newspapers around the U.S. started publishing an op-ed that criticized the process by which Boeing competitor SpaceX fuels its Falcon 9 rocket. “The first op-ed gave the impression in a Memphis newspaper per week earlier than the economic group announcement,” studies Ars Technica. “In fresh weeks, copies of the op-ed have additionally gave the impression within the Houston Chronicle, quite a lot of Alabama newspapers, Albuquerque Journal, Florida Today, and The Washington Times.” Ars Technica studies: All of those op-eds have been bylined by means of “retired spacecraft operator” Richard Hagar, who labored for NASA right through the Apollo program and now lives in Tennessee. (Based upon his restricted social media postings, Hagar seems to be extra focused on conservative politics than in house at the present time). Each op-ed cites Hagar’s paintings on NASA’s restoration from the Apollo 1 fireplace and the onerous classes NASA realized that day about human spaceflight. The items then pivot to arguing that SpaceX’s load-and-go fueling procedure — by which the group will board the Dragon spacecraft on most sensible of the Falcon nine rocket earlier than it’s fueled — ignores the teachings that Hagar’s technology realized right through Apollo.
“It’s concerning to learn that some of the newer private space ventures launching today don’t appreciate the same safety standards we learned to emphasize on Apollo,” the op-ed states. “I suppose for Mr. Musk, inexperience is replacing the abundant safety protocols drilled into us after witnessing the Apollo 1 disaster. Astronaut safety is NASA’s number one priority on any space mission. There is no reason it should not be for private space travel, but commercial space companies like SpaceX play by different rules.”
There are some factual inaccuracies right here. For something, SpaceX does play by means of the similar regulations as Boeing for industrial group — astronaut protection regulations that NASA itself wrote. Moreover, NASA has already provisionally cleared load-and-go for Falcon nine launches that can ship the Dragon spacecraft into orbit. To attempt to perceive his perspective, Ars tried to achieve Hagar by means of telephone and e-mail in September. In the process this procedure, we realized that he didn’t in truth publish many of those op-eds. In reality, founded upon our analysis, no less than 4 of the six op-eds that we positioned have been submitted by means of two other people with gmail.com addresses. Their names have been Josh Brevik and Casey Murray. Further analysis published that two other people with those names labored as “associates” at a Washington, DC-based public members of the family company named Law Media Group or LMG. LMG’s web page says they’re a 15-year-old company that “develops and executes public-, Hill-, and agency-facing issue advocacy campaigns that shift the narrative in a changing world.” The SourceWatch website extra bluntly “calls LMG a ‘secretive Washington DC public affairs firm’ with a history of placing op-eds, and it seeks to mask the op-eds’ financial sponsors,” studies Ars.