FAA Unveils Rules For Space Tourism Operators

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The FAA last Thursday published its proposed rules to govern the operation of commercial space flight. The 120-page document mainly covers qualification and training for the crew and passengers -- but the FAA doesn't call them passengers. They are "space flight participants ... not a typical passenger with typical expectations of transport, but someone going on an adventure ride." Participants would not be required to have a physical exam, but the FAA would recommend it. They also must be informed of the risks and be told that the U.S. government has not certified the space vehicle as "safe." Flight crew must have FAA pilot and medical certificates and an instrument rating. The experimental permit for spacecraft is covered in a separate rulemaking, the FAA said. The FAA invites comment on its proposal until Feb. 27. Comments can be logged or viewed online; enter docket number 23449.