Blurbs

“Thoughtful, comprehensive, yet iconoclastic – Safe Is Not An Option succinctly addresses the unrealistically skewed risk-reward perception in the civilian government space sector. Speaking as a military aviator and astronaut, I believe this work wisely highlights the shortfalls of the NASA management not-truly-operational culture and offers a productive and realistic alternate viewpoint for anyone pursuing the “ad astra” dream.”

Rick Searfoss
Colonel, USAF Retired, Astronaut/Space Shuttle Commander, XCOR Aerospace Chief Test Pilot


“In 2008 I had the great privilege to fly privately to the International Space Station, where I lived for twelve days. Having grown up with a NASA astronaut father who flew on Skylab and the Shuttle, I have had a lifetime opportunity to see how flight safety has evolved in the United States. Having trained in and flown aboard the Soyuz, I have also seen the Russian approach to this same important issue. The two hardest items to control in space exploration are cost and safety. Interestingly, the Russian approach has often created both improved safety and cost in comparison with domestic strategies. If we as a global people are going to push the boundaries of humanity further into the cosmos, we must decide how much risk we should accept and how should we manage to that level of risk. Today, we seem so risk averse that we encumber the already difficult problem of space exploration with red tape, that slows down the activities, requires spiraling budgets and arguably does not improve safety in relative measure.”

Richard Garriott
Private Astronaut and Computer Game Pioneer


“Since the end of Apollo, U.S. space operations have ostensibly emphasized safety first. Rand Simberg persuasively explains why that has been a mistake, and how we must change if we are to succeed.”

Glenn Reynolds aka “Instapundit”
Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Tennessee, and co-author Outer Space: Problems of Law & Policy


“A pioneer at the dawn of aviation observed: ‘If you are looking for perfect safety, you will do well to sit on a fence and watch the birds; but if you really wish to learn, you must mount a machine and become acquainted with its tricks by actual trial.’ And since ancient times it has been known that staying in the harbor is safer than venturing onto the high seas. But nature demands tolerance of risk if the human race is to expand beyond our world. Opening the space frontier to humanity will require no less acceptance than these historical precedents, as Rand Simberg ably illustrates.”

Gary C. Hudson
President, Space Studies Institute


Safe Is Not An Option makes a strong case for changing minds and policies about our risk-averse western society and approach to future commercial space exploration. It’s an excellent read. Rand tears the sheet off the elephant in the room and exposes us to the conversation in which western society must engage to remain relevant in the new millennium. The topic deserves discussion. This book is a valuable first step.”

Stuart O. Witt
CEO, Mojave Air & Space Port


“Rand Simberg presents an intriguing case that the safety culture within the government space program, while well intentioned, is in fact detrimental to the progress of space exploration and development. The no-holds-barred approach of his viewpoint is sure to disturb the status quo, but regardless is a captivating read. Whether you agree with his viewpoint or not, Safe is Not An Option provides a necessary perspective for those involved in or connected to the space community.”

Michael J. Listner, Esquire
Principal, Space Law & Policy Solutions, President & CEO (Interim) International Space Safety Foundation


“NASA’s approach to manned space flight has created the impression that such travel is inherently extremely costly. In this new book, Rand Simberg makes a persuasive case that NASA’s unprecedented risk aversion is the cause of that high cost — and that such risk aversion is contrary to the history not only of aviation but of all transportation and the exploration of new frontiers. This has profound implications for the development of commercial transportation in space. Simberg offers an alternative approach which could lead space transportation to develop into an industry along the lines of aviation, rather than remaining a tiny, costly government monopoly.”

Robert Poole
Director of Transportation Policy, Reason Foundation


“Mr. Simberg makes the compelling case that great deeds and great rewards require great risks, but NASA and my colleagues in Congress have become so risk averse in the arena of human spaceflight that we are incapable of accomplishing great deeds. America must have the stomach to let explorers and settlers willfully take on the kinds of risk necessary for opening the frontier of space to settlement under the rule of law. If we continue to overvalue that risk, or prohibit those who would willfully undertake it, then other nations with no respect for human life will be more than happy to fill that void. Left unchecked, the well-meaning, but misguided, group that promotes “safety at all cost” will continue to establish hard ceilings that we can’t break through, require the expense of immense amounts of time and money, and will ultimately cost us our preeminence in space. We must not cede the high ground of space to those who do not believe in freedom. And we must respect the freedom of those individuals who are willing to put it all on the line to head over that next hill – even when that hill is in space. Mr. Simberg’s book Safe Is Not An Option handles this sensitive issue with skill, grace, and tremendous insight.”

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher
Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology; and former Chairman of the Space Subcommittee<


“My first thought upon reading a draft of Rand’s book was, ‘It’s about time that someone used common sense when addressing the space safety subject.’  The biggest difference between NASA in the 60s and the current NASA is how they deal with risks.  In the 60s, NASA developed and flew seven new manned space launch systems (Redstone, Atlas, X-15, Titan, Saturn I, Saturn V and LM). All except X-15 were flown without fatalities.  In the forty-two years since, only three new systems were flown, one Chinese, the Space Shuttle and SpaceShipOne.  In spite of new safety policies, NASA’s Shuttle proved to be the most dangerous way to fly outside the atmosphere.  In spite of the evidence, NASA still insists on following the Shuttle model in developing future systems, which clearly hampers creativity (opportunities for breakthroughs) while providing no real improvements in safety.

I applaud Rand for publishing his important research on the safety culture.  This book will be referenced widely in the future and will provide the sanity that is needed while we move ahead with new technologies.”

Burt Rutan
Aircraft And Spacecraft Developer

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