Rules for Space Tourism Released

First it was the XPrize. Then it was news that Virgin Galactic is building a commercial spaceport in New Mexico. Now, private space flight has taken yet another step closer to reality with news that the FAA has drafted a report proposing rules and regulations for commercial space flight. We’re not sure if your nail clippers will be permitted, but Darlene Superville reports on some of the new rules for the AP:

More than 120 pages of proposed rules, released by the government Dec. 29, regulate the future of space tourism. This don’t-forget list touches on everything from passenger medical standards to preflight training for the crew.

Before the trip, companies would be required to inform the “space flight participant” — or passenger — of the risks. Passengers also would be required to provide written consent before boarding.

Legislation signed a year ago by President Bush and designed to help the space industry flourish prohibits the Federal Aviation Administration from issuing safety regulations for passengers and crew for eight years, unless specific design features or practices cause a serious or fatal injury.

Physical exams for passengers are recommended, but will not be required, “unless a clear public safety need is identified,” the FAA says in the proposed regulations.

Passengers also would have to be trained on how to respond during emergencies, including loss of cabin pressure, fire and smoke, and how to get out of the vehicle safely.

To release the belt, lift up etc….

Laws governing private sector space endeavors, such as satellite launches, have existed for some time. But there had been no legal jurisdiction for regulating commercial human spaceflight.

Public comment on the proposed rules are allowed through Feb. 27, and final rules are expected to be announced by June 23.

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