WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Aspiring space tourists got some proposed guidelines on Thursday from the U.S. government, including advice to get a physical exam before traveling and to accept the risks involved by signing a form.
The draft Federal Aviation Administration (news - web sites) guidelines also suggest operators of reusable space ships should inform their passengers of the vehicle's safety record and provide safety training before the launch, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta (news - web sites) said.
"We're not going to lose sight of safety," Mineta said in a speech at his department's Commercial Space Transportation Conference. "These guidelines for space tourism respect that this is uncharted territory," allowing operators "to determine the best way to meet the standards."
There is another set of draft guidelines for space flight crews, Mineta said.
Pilots of reusable launch vehicles would need to hold an FAA (news - web sites) pilot certificate, meet medical standards and be trained to operate their vehicle so it will not harm the public, with emphasis on responding to abort scenarios, emergency operations and procedures that direct the vehicle away from the public in the event of a problem during flight, he said.
Mineta said he recognized the early stage of the commercial space flight industry and encouraged feedback on the guidelines.
The White House unveiled a new policy on commercial space flight in January, seeking to offset the decline in demand for commercial launches by capitalizing on interest in public space travel, among other ventures.
The policy was announced three months after the privately funded SpaceShipOne completed two sub-orbital flights into space with a person aboard, setting a new altitude record and winning a $10 million prize designed to spur commercial space travel.
Entrepreneur Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, has announced plans to make space travel as ordinary as a Caribbean cruise.
so, not just that NASA is continuing shuttle flights, but the fact that the rest of the world is catching up on space technology. if more organisations follow the lead set by russia to take money from civilians as crew on board scheduled launches/missions, then more money can be put into even more advances into space.