Federal estimates of the commercial space industry —only a little of it involving tourism — exceed $200 billion. NASA is counting on private companies such as SpaceX and Orbital Sciences to haul cargo to the space station. They are also spending billions to help SpaceX and Boeing build ships that will eventually take people there, too.
Internet pioneers Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have gotten into the space game. Aviation entrepreneur Richard Branson and others are pushing a billion-dollar space tourism industry.
The Virgin Galactic and Orbital accidents have nothing in common except the words private space, Stern said. Still it raises issues about the space industry.