TODAY on Youtube shows that after his historic trip into space on Tuesday, billionaire Amazon founder delivered a message to his critics and also laid out a vision for the future. NBC’s Tom Costello reports for TODAY from West Texas.
It seems that even though Jeff Bezos crossed into space on Tuesday, he still may not get his "official astronaut" title and "wings" from the federal government.
On the same day as Blue Origin's first human spaceflight, the Federal Aviation Administration announced a change to its Commercial Astronaut Wings Program for the first time in 17 years. This shift at the dawn of the space tourism era means the U.S. government may not formally recognize that billionaires Jeff Bezos and Sir Richard Branson became astronauts when they blasted into space earlier this month.
Before the FAA issued the new restrictions, Bezos, along with 3 other crewmates who flew with the Blue Origin founder, would have qualified to receive FAA commercial astronaut wings. That's because the travelers flew to an altitude of at least 50 miles (80.5 kilometres), the U.S.-recognized boundary of space.
Effective July 20, the FAA issued one more critical criterion: Commercial launch crew members must also demonstrate "activities during flight that were essential to public safety, or contributed to human space flight safety," an FAA spokesperson said, quoting the new order.
( faa.gov ) The Federal Aviation Administration is the largest transportation agency of the USA government and regulates all aspects of civil aviation in the country as well as over surrounding international waters.