Screening and training space tourists

Also in Monday’s issue of The Space Review I discuss some of the issues that are emerging with the screening and training of space tourists, as well as their crew members, based on a panel during the FAA’s annual commercial space transportation conference earlier this month. The highlight of the panel upon which most of the article is based was a presentation by Julia Tizard of Virgin Galactic, who revealed that 65 of 70 of the company’s customers have passed centrifuge training at the NASTAR Center outside Philadelphia. Those who were involved in the training ranged in age from 22 to 88, and included people with less-than-perfect medical histories, such as heart bypass surgery.

There is a concern, though, by some in the industry that regulators could move too quickly to establish rules for spaceflight participant training: Jeff Greason of XCOR said he is “living in fear” of such a move since there’s little known about what kind of training is appropriate, and that the training requirements could be different for different operators. “Codifying our mistakes early,” he said, “is one of the biggest errors we could make.”

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