...As New Organization Forms To Promote Space Biz

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Meanwhile, a group of space entrepreneurs announced on Tuesday they are organizing a new Personal Spaceflight Federation to promote growth and safety in their new industry. The federation will work with the FAA as it develops industry standards for passenger safety and crew training. "In 2004, there were only 15 worldwide commercial space launches," said Gregg Maryniak of the X Prize Foundation, one of the organizers. "Personal spaceflight promises a much larger market and will provide the demand that the industry needs to grow and economize." Initial members of the group include Burt Rutan, Scaled Composites; John Carmack, Armadillo Aerospace; Elon Musk, SpaceX; and Alex Tai, Virgin Galactic. Also represented are XCOR, the X Prize Foundation, t/Space/HMX, Pioneer Rocketplane, Mojave Spaceport, Space Adventures, and the RLV Working Group of COMSTAC, the Department of Transportation's industry advisory committee. Membership is open to all U.S. nonprofit and commercial entities developing suborbital commercial passenger travel. The 8th Annual FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference, "Ready for the Next Giant Leap," kicks off today in Washington, with sessions on regulation, training and technology.