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Congress Passes Bill Allowing Space Tours
Yahoo News ^ | 12/9/04 | ERICA WERNER

Posted on 12/09/2004 6:03:29 AM PST by Brett66

By ERICA WERNER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Outer space could become the final frontier of tourism under legislation passed Wednesday by the Senate to regulate commercial human spaceflight.

The bill, approved by voice vote in the final minutes of the 108th Congress, would authorize the Federal Aviation Administration to issue permits allowing private spacecraft operators to blast paying passengers into space.

The agency would also regulate the young industry, which was invigorated by the successful flights of a privately financed manned rocket over California's Mojave Desert in October.

While laws exist to regulate private-sector space endeavors such as satellite launches, there is no legal jurisdiction for regulating commercial human spaceflight. Even without one, entrepreneurs have announced plans to offer private space flights within several years, and wealthy thrill-seekers are plunking down deposits.

The Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004, by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher , R-Calif., passed the House last month and will now go to the president for his signature.

"This is a great victory for the future of America's space efforts," Rohrabacher said. "The people who will invest the type of big dollars necessary to make this a major new step in mankind's ascent into space have been waiting for the government to lay down the regulatory regime and set the rules of the game, and this is the first major step towards doing that."

Senate passage came only after the bill stalled several times because of disagreements over how much safety protections to offer potential space tourists and crew.

The final version allows the Federal Aviation Administration to begin issuing regulations to protect the safety of passengers and crew only eight years after the bill becomes law. Before then, the agency may restrict design features or operating practices only if they've resulted in a serious or fatal injury to passengers or crew, or caused an unsafe unplanned event.

Rohrabacher and industry lobbyists contended that space tourists must fly at their own risk, and that more stringent safety regulations would stifle innovation. Some Democrats had pushed for tougher safety regulations.

The bill requires passengers to be informed of the risks involved, and the Federal Aviation Administration may issue regulations to protect the non-flying public's health and property and the country's national security and foreign policy interests.


The bill is H.R. 5382.

TOPICS: Government; Technical
KEYWORDS: commercial; hr5382; legislation; private; rutan; space; spaceshipone; tourism
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To: Centurion2000
If you're going to launch 100,000 pounds of explosive fuel over my head I think I am gonna take exception to that UNLESS someone else has already checked you out.

I suspect you're being somewhat facetious, but your post demonstrates a fallacious assumption. The simple fact that "someone else has already checked [me] out" does not make the threat of 100,000 pounds of explosive fuel any less. That would be true only if the entity checking me out has some degree of expertise I lack, or has resources beyond what are available to me, or has a greater motive to discover unsafe practices. None of that is implicitly true of government bureaucracies.

The private sector has a vested financial interest in seeing that its launches are safe, economical, and productive. The LAST thing any private company wants is for that fuel tank to explode over your house.

The government doesn't want it either. But if it happens, the government isn't out anything. The private company may very well be out of business.

51 posted on 12/10/2004 2:30:55 PM PST by IronJack (R)
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To: asgardshill; Cloud William; Frank_Discussion; Monkey Face; Rastus; raybbr; Rebelbase; Redcloak; ...

Perhaps if the warships of your world attack we will be able...

(interrupting) Eh, excuse me... did you say 'the ships of our world'?

Surely you have such vessels?

Well, we have a number of... of...


These... 'shuttles'... they are a formidable craft?

Oh yeah... yeah... bad day...

52 posted on 12/10/2004 2:43:14 PM PST by Tealc (Mail me if you want on or off my Jaffa, Kree! ping list)
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To: Tealc

One of my all-time favorites.

53 posted on 12/11/2004 10:26:46 AM PST by Texas Chrystal (Don't mess with Texas)
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