House Passes Space Tourism Bill

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Safety Of Passengers At Issue...

The latest version of a bill that strives to create a regulatory framework for space tourism passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday, after a contentious debate over its safety provisions. The bill would give the FAA jurisdiction over the flights, but the agency's safety mandate would extend only to protecting the "uninvolved public," not to passengers and crew. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., sponsor of the bill, said, "After being informed of the risks, people can and should be able to decide to buy a ticket and achieve their lifelong dream of flying into space even though they know that it is a risky proposition." Various versions of the bill have shuttled back and forth from the House to the Senate over the last few months. Virgin CEO Richard Branson has announced plans to offer commercial space flights by 2007, and is already taking deposits.