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“Risks of Human Spaceflight” by Howard McCurdy and I-Lin Lin
Published in Quest Volume: 30 #3 (2023)


Expressed as the number of fatalities per traveler, spaceflight seems quite dangerous—as risky as climbing Mount Everest. Based on the number of fatalities associated with more than two decades of activity on and around the International Space Station (ISS), space travel appears relatively safe. Historically, one of the ways that workers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have maintained flight safety is by analyzing mission anomalies—events that do not lead to catastrophic outcomes but nonetheless impart important lessons. Mission anomalies occur frequently. Their use as a learning tool on proposed commercial space stations may sustain flight safety but could also impart the impression that spaceflight remains dangerous. That impression could lead to increased demands for regulation and government oversight that run counter to the risk-taking philosophies of spaceflight entrepreneurs.


McCurdy, Howard and Lin, I-Lin. “Risks of Human Spaceflight.” Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly 30, no. 3 (2023): 33-38.

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More Information

  • Archive ID # G301309
  • Format: Document (PDF)
  • Author/Creator:
  • Publication Year: 2023
  • Publisher: Quest
  • Copyright Status: Copyrighted
  • Copyright Holder: SPACE 3.0
  • Language: English
  • Number of Pages: 6
  • Type: History
  • Subject:
  • Collection: Quest
  • Availability: Digital Download

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