Hidden Nook

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Saturday, February 12, 2005

Federal regulation of Space Tourism?

[Media Source*]

(Space.com) It seems that many people are worried that the government might begin to regulate space tourism so they are taking matters into their own hands--by regulating themselves.
...To prevent that, they have formed a group, the Industry Consensus Standards Organization, to set standards for space flyers. While acknowledging the entrepreneurial space flight will be deadly, [Michael] Kelly said the industry needs the chance to learn from its mistakes.

I agree with Kelly on this one. More below.

Photo from: Associated Press

The problem with regulation is not the fact that the government is keeping us accountable. Some of that is needed of course, but strict regulation might kill any innovation that might be productive for the industry. A classic case of this is the Airline industry, which is not doing to well according to latest reports (and this industry is regulated "out the Wazoo!"). Fortunately President Bush is siding with the industry somewhat, at least for now.
A law signed by President Bush in December requires that the government license launches of privately built spacecraft. It also says the Federal Aviation Administration may not issue safety regulations for passengers and crew for eight years unless specific design features or operating practices result in a serious or fatal injury.

Although this law presents a "tombstone mentality" (as Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn puts it) it does give the industry some freedom to test the waters with space tourism at the same time developing their own corporate approach to the business. As Elon Musk (chairman of SpaceX) best puts it:
"If somebody understands the risks and puts their life on the line because they think it's worth it, we should applaud that," said Musk.

I agree. Selah!

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By Darnell Clayton • 8:46 PM • Email Post • •


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