In a move that is perceived as a “landing / chill” for the dreams of billionaire space explorers, the United States. adjusted the definition of the term astronaut.
New FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) rules say aspiring astronauts it must belong to the flight crew and contribute to their safety. This means that the Jeff Bezos and Sir Richard Branson They may not be astronauts yet, at least in the “eyes” of the US government.
These changes, according to the BBC, are the first since the FAA’s “wings” program began in 2004.
Changes in the program Commercial Astronaut Wings They were announced on Tuesday, the same day Amazon’s Jeff Bezos flew a Blue Origin rocket to the edge of space.
To be designated as commercial astronauts, travelers must fly 80 km above the planet’s surface, something that both Bezos and Branson have accomplished.
However, beyond the altitude, the agency says aspiring astronauts should also have to carry out activities on the flight that were “Necessary for public safety, or has contributed to the safety of manned spaceflight.”
What is defined exactly this way is left to FAA officials.
On July 11, Sir Richard Branson flew with Spaceship two of Virgin Galactic on the edge of space, in a test before customers start flying, starting next year.
Bezos and the other three who later flew in his boat Blue origin may be less entitled to the title of astronaut: In light of the launch, Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said “there really is nothing a crew member can do” on the autonomous spacecraft.
A NASA spokesperson told CNN that no applications were being considered. Please note that there are two other ways to earn astronaut wings in the USA: Through the Armed Forces or NASA. The bead pins that Bezos and Branson brought on their flights were made by their own companies.
With information from BBC
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