Laws To Complicate Space Tourism (With Safety)...

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Pax Need Training, Mineta Says

DOT Secretary Norm Mineta offered a glimpse last week into what the FAA will be looking for in safety guidelines for commercial space tourism. Speaking at the annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Mineta said that passengers who want to travel into space should get a physical and sign consent forms stating they understand the risks. Also, operators of reusable launch vehicles should inform passengers of the safety record of the vehicle and provide safety training before the launch, Mineta said. The draft guidelines "respect that this is uncharted territory," and allow operators to decide the best way to meet the standards, he said. Pilots of the launch vehicles would need to hold an FAA pilot certificate and meet medical standards. They also should be trained to operate their vehicle so that it will not harm the public, and to direct the vehicle away from the public in the event of a problem during flight. Mineta encouraged feedback on the guidelines and said his goal is to have this fledgling industry succeed. "We don't want to stifle innovation when you may very well find an approach that serves even better in the course of your design work," Mineta said.