Jeff Bezos and Sir Richard Branson have NOT become astronauts after visiting space once, the US states.
Both Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson recently took trips to outer space. Bezos traveled to space with his Blue Origin New Sheperd rocket, while Branson chose his Virgin Galactic Unity 22 aircraft.
However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued new guidelines stating that visiting space once is not enough to call someone an astronaut, as per Unilad.
Bezos, Branson may not get official astronaut status after FAA changes policy https://t.co/wuqCGO9jOT pic.twitter.com/yMIuKNPuJJ
— The Hill (@thehill) July 25, 2021
The protocol, specifically directed to FAA’s Commercial Space Astronaut Wings Program, says that neither Bezos nor Branson qualifies for the position.
According to the new rules, “In order to maintain the prestige of Commercial Space Astronaut Wings, the FAA may further refine the eligibility requirements at any time as it deems appropriate.” The richest person in the world right now, Jef Bezos, does not meet the new guidelines, as his flight didn’t demonstrate activities “that were essential to public safety, or contributed to human space flight safety.”
Jeff Bezos went to the edge of space. Does that make him an astronaut? https://t.co/CGBYFhHP01 pic.twitter.com/YvrnsTuwV1
— SPACE.com (@SPACEdotcom) July 25, 2021
As Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said earlier, “There’s really nothing for a crew member to go do.” This statement implies that Bezos’ crew’s actions didn’t contribute to human space flight safety.
Meanwhile, Branson’s voyage to the edge of space was a test before allowing customers aboard next year. Although the English business magnate himself does not qualify for receiving an astronaut status, the two pilots flying with him do.
There are no words to describe the feeling. This is space travel. This is a dream turned reality https://t.co/Wyzj0nOBgX @VirginGalactic #Unity22 pic.twitter.com/moDvnFfXri
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) July 12, 2021
However, the FAA states that “There could be individuals whose contribution to commercial human
space flight merits special recognition.” Therefore, Bezos and Branson still have a chance at being recognized as astronauts.