...With Acceptance Of Risk...

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Although voluntary standards are likely to prove safer than government regulation, Kelly said, it's inevitable that there will be accidents and fatalities. "I do not share the view of many in industry that the first fatal accident will spell the end of personal spaceflight. Such a thing has never happened in all of history ... It is contrary to human nature." However, when it comes to regulation, even the smallest of stumbles could add years of delay in the development of the emerging industry, Kelly warned. At last count, Virgin Galactic had 14,000 reservations, he said. The FAA has already licensed four commercial launch facilities, in California, Florida, Virginia and Alaska, and several more are in the works. The U.S. commercial space transportation and its associated services and industries already fuel more than $95 billion in economic activity per year delivering satellites to orbit, and support over a half-million jobs, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said at yesterday's hearing. The demand for such launches is waning, however, and competition is dropping the prices, leaving space tourism as the economic driver of the industry's future.