Sometimes seemingly unconnected events can have an effect out of proportion to what seems rational. In this case SpaceX, having no connection to Orbital or Virgin Galactic, will have its next flight partially judged on the misfortune that fell on the other two companies. While there is no rational connection, in much of the public eye they are all commercial companies that stand in opposition to NASA. The negative tweets and comments that have accompanied the two failures have already affected some people’s minds on the viability of independent companies performing critical launch services.
The near worship of NASA by people with less information than most of the people reading this blog as the agency that got us to the moon, casts doubts on the ability of any other organization in the country to do the same job. The upcoming SpaceX flight will be performed in the limelight of both a critical and a hopeful public. The barge landing, whether it succeeds or fails, will be measured against the hundred plus Shuttle flights.
The SLS and Orion crowd will be using the previous two accidents to highlight any problem SpaceX may experience on this mission. They see themselves threatened and backed into a corner even though their budget has consistently been far in excess of anything SpaceX has used.They believe a failure will prove Â SpaceX cannot do the job and cannot be trusted anymore than any other company, while a success will highlight their inability to provide reusable hardware. Even a failure to land on the barge would be used to insult all commercial companies, with the Anteres and SpaceShipTwo mishaps used to help make their points.
So I would suggest you be prepared to see a far more critical take on this mission than any reasonable person would use.For the next couple of missions a tendency to overpromise or under deliver by SpaceX or its fans will be used as ammunition to attack the company. And it should be remembered that some of these fairly low information people have a tendency to write their congressman.