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Space Government

Regulations Could Delay or Prevent Space Tourism 186

schwit1 writes "This report explains how Virgin Galactic space tourists could be grounded by federal regulations. From the article: 'Virgin Galactic submitted an application to the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation in late August 2013, says Attenborough. The office, which goes by the acronym AST, has six months to review the application, meaning an approval may come as early as February. Industry experts, however, say that may be an overly optimistic projection. "An application will inevitably be approved, but it definitely remains uncertain exactly when it will happen," says Dirk Gibson, an associate professor of communication at the University of New Mexico and author of multiple books on space tourism. "This is extremely dangerous and unchartered territory. It's space travel. AST has to be very prudent," he says. "They don't want to endanger the space-farers or the public, and they can't let the industry get started and then have a Titanic-like scenario that puts an end to it all in the eyes of the public.""
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Regulations Could Delay or Prevent Space Tourism

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  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @01:54AM (#46033099)
    (Qualifier: Yes, we know that Morton Thiokol designed the system and made the O-rings, but NASA administrators were familiar with the situation and approved the launch anyway.)
  • Hindenburg (Score:5, Informative)

    by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @02:34AM (#46033307) Homepage Journal

    Actually, many similarities: airships float in a sea of air, using buoyancy just as a ship does. Perhaps more like a submarine, but those are boats too. :)

    And the loss of the Hindenburg certainly put a crimp in airship travel!

  • by Teancum ( 67324 ) <robert_horning AT netzero DOT net> on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @04:53AM (#46033725) Homepage Journal

    I think the government space program has had an overall fatality rate of something not quite 10%. It's reasonable considering just what they've been doing, but even if commercial space flight is 10 X more safe than the program NASA developed, that's still going to be some guaranteed casualties for any widely implemented program. It's certainly nothing you would tolerate coming from an air liner. Anyone going up is going to have to be acknowledging the not-utterly-unlikely possibility of their death

    The actual number of people who have died as a direct result of being in a spacecraft which malfunctioned or somehow caused the death of the occupant is a fair bit lower than you are suggesting. See also: []

    Of the total number just more than 500 people [] who have been in space, 22 people have died. While certainly worse than what you would expect for air transportation, it is not a figure to simply pull out of your behind. It is important to note that these are also pioneers with this form of transportation, where at least for the early travellers they literally had no idea what to expect when they even got into space and the designers of these vehicles really didn't know what to anticipate either.

    When compared to the deaths of early aviators and even the deaths of passengers in aviation for the first 50 years of air travel, this is dong pretty damn well and has a surprisingly low casualty rate all things considered.

  • Re:That's stupid (Score:4, Informative)

    by FatLittleMonkey ( 1341387 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @08:06AM (#46034301)

    but to link cities between Australia and South America or Africa.

    Oh for... [] Tourist flights. Flies out of an Australian city every two weeks, returns to that same city 12-14 hours later. Doesn't land anywhere else. Has Antarctic experts on board to explain what the tourists are seeing. Has nothing to do with Sth America or Africa.

    If you don't know what you are talking about, okay fine, but don't just make shit up.

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