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It's interesting that you mention planes. Boeing and Airbus (with FAA's help I guess) have figured out a way to build astonishingly safe planes. Yes, their systems are simpler and get a lot more use, but the fact that there has been exactly one hull loss for a 777 with no fatalities in 20 years with 1000 planes might also be telling us something about them getting the organization right.

A safe 777 is hard to build, but a safe orbiter is an order of magnitude harder, with respect to the range of velocity, temperature, and pressure that the vehicle endures.

It's not a totally fair comparison to say "Boeing can do it, why can't NASA and their contractors"

With current technology, it seems obvious that if we want to (further) develop manned spaceflight, we should launch unmanned orbiters with crash-test dummies and telepresence surrogates, and keep doing so until we've established a safety record.

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