Full article at:The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board concluded Tuesday that the developer of a commercial spacecraft that broke apart over the Mojave Desert last year failed to protect against the possibility of human error, specifically the co-pilot's premature unlocking of a braking system that triggered the in-flight breakup of the vehicle.
In its recommendation, the board took pains to make clear that Scaled Composites, an aerospace company that has partnered with Virgin Galactic to develop the spacecraft, should have had systems in place to overcome the co-pilot's mistake.
NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart said he didn't believe the company took shortcuts that compromised the spacecraft's safety. Rather, he said, it didn't consider that the crew would make such a mistake.
"The assumption was these highly trained test pilots would not make mistakes in those areas, but truth be told, humans are humans," Hart said after the hearing's conclusion. "And even the best-trained human on their best day can make mistakes."