World View prioritises safety ahead of human space flights in 2024

World View

World View, a stratospheric exploration and space tourism company, has hired three industry experts to establish and lead a safety program with testing and safety protocols, ahead of human space flights starting in 2024. 

The new personnel will build on World View’s existing safety protocols and risk assessment procedures that have successfully guided over 100 uncrewed flights and remote sensing missions for commercial and government customers. In turn, the committee’s work will provide the additional measures needed for World View to begin space tourism missions in two years. 

“As we enter human flight, a robust and thorough safety program is one of our most serious and important initiatives,” World View president and CEO Ryan Hartman said. 

“We have brought together a team with world-class expertise, ranging from NASA Shuttle missions to aircraft safety and other aerospace programs, to ensure our approach to space tourism and remote sensing is the safest and most reliable in the industry.  

“This is a major step forward in World View’s ability to not only establish rigorous standards, but demonstrate our commitment to safety as we take space tourists to the new frontier.” 

The experts include Greg “Ray J” Johnson, a former NASA astronaut and Blue Origin executive; Ron Failing from Virgin Galactic; and Charlie Precourt, a former NASA astronaut. 

Johnson will serve as World View’s chief test pilot. While at NASA, Johnson was a research pilot, astronaut and pilot for NASA Shuttle Mission STS-125. He is also a retired naval officer, Navy test pilot, and aviator with considerable aerospace engineering experience. Most recently a senior vice president at Blue Origin, Johnson led the New Shepard suborbital rocket, overseeing four test flights, and was responsible for engineering logistics, operations, and portions of their West, TX launch and landing site. As World View’s chief test pilot, he will help develop and execute testing for space tourism flights and play a critical role in developing safety protocols. 

Failing will serve as World View’s vice president of Aviation Safety. Failing brings decades of aerospace and aviation safety expertise, having implemented several safety management systems including human factors analysis, risk mitigation, and hazard controls. He was most recently director of Safety at Virgin Galactic and has worked at Virgin America, Frontier, and Continental Airlines. Drawing from this extensive experience, Failing will oversee flight safety and the overall development of World View’s flight safety program. 

Precourt will lead the development of World View’s independent Technical Oversight Committee, which will standardise the key safety and risk assessment protocols needed to ensure successful human flights. While at NASA, Precourt served as an astronaut, pilot, and commander. He was also chief of the Astronaut Office from 1998 to 2002, where he led the NASA Astronaut Corps and served as a top advisor to NASA administrator Daniel Golden during the Clinton and Bush administrations on issues related to training and operations. Precourt also served as the vice president and general manager of the Propulsion Division at Northrop Grumman. As a retired US Air Force Colonel with advanced degrees in aeronautics and engineering, Precourt brings deep technical and leadership knowledge to his new role that will be essential for advancing World View’s safety standards. 

World View is now also seeking AS9100 certification, a quality standard for aerospace, aviation, and defence companies. 

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