Astronaut: space tourism “here to stay”

The Orange County Register published an interview yesterday with Michael Lopez-Alegria, who will fly to the ISS in September as a member of the Expedition 14 crew. Reporter Gary Robbins brings up the topic of space tourism in the interview:

Q: This fall, Daisuke Enomoto, a Japanese entrepreneur, will spend eight days on the station as a tourist. He’s paying NASA’s Russian partners for the right to do it. How do you feel about space tourism?

A:Space tourism is here to stay. America has to embrace it. I am not sure NASA has to embrace it. That may not be our role. But NASA could foment tourism like the U.S. post office did with commercial aircraft transportation. I understand that the revenue is important for the Russians, maybe even vital for their program to survive. If you make that a consideration, I’m for it. As mission commander, it is a bit of a liability. (Enomoto) is not a trained professional. There will have to be some supervision.

2 comments to Astronaut: space tourism “here to stay”

  • Chance

    Grudging acceptance. I guess it’s better than nothing.

  • brent

    Honest, I think. NASA probably shouldn’t have a huge role in space tourism. The need to deal with it since they don’t control the ISS, but the “new” space industry is better off with NASA more or less hands off.

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