This is something I bring up a lot. Private companies sending people into space, it's all the hype nowadays, and obviously people are unable to see the dangers, after all what's the track record of private companies on the ground?

I was reading Another World is Possible, the blog of John McDonnell MP, who is standing in the Labour leadership contest when Blair steps down, he wrote the following entry:

For all those attentive to this website who may have been hoping to go to the meeting in Birmingham tonight, unfortunately I've been trapped at Euston station thanks to privatisation of our railway service. Branson's Virgin trains have had another incident and all trains have been cancelled to Birmingham. All passengers have been advised to travel the next day. Branson is clearly trying to sabotage one of the central planks of my campaign, which is to bring rail back into public ownership.

Coincidentally, I bumped into an angry passenger at the station, fuming at the abysmal service by Branson's Virgin trains. This was noone other than Conservative MP William Cash, ardent advocate of rail privatisation and who under Thatcher voted consistently to undermine our rail service. Poetic justice or what?

Richard Branson, capitalist billionaire who wants to send people into space, a guy who can't even keep his trains running. Do you honestly want this guy to be putting people into space?

I sure as hell don't. Space should be strictly under public control. The exploitation of space should be avoided at all costs. Just a couple of weeks back we saw the Russian Space Agency hit a golf ball off the International Space Station, not only is this dangerous, that ball could strike another satellite, or worse the ISS. They do it for money in a shameless promotion of some golf company.

Of course not that Virgin Galactic actually does put people into space (when it flies that is); it's just a high altitude aircraft with a rocket attached to it. This does not reach orbit by a long long way and so is false advertising. Until a private company manages to develop a rocket comparable to Vostok they're no where near space, they're still a long way off, so far even private rockets capable of lifting only a few kilograms into orbit have had problems with exploding, again and again.

But the point still stands, do you want a company that can't keep the trains running involved in blasting people high up into the atmosphere, and eventually beyond? Am I the only one who sees a health and safety nightmare here?