posted on Oct, 8 2004 @ 08:00 AM
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Thrill seekers are plunking down six figures to ride rockets that haven't even been built yet, and a new airline
called Virgin Galactic promises to be up and soaring in the next three years. Still, the budding space tourism industry faces a myriad of safety
concerns -- in the sky and on the ground -- that must be resolved before any paying passenger takes off.
The rules that will govern the industry in the United States remain under discussion between federal regulators and rocket developers, and legislation
is still before Congress.
Federal Aviation Administration chief Marion C. Blakey this week visited Xcor Aerospace, a rocket developer just down the Mojave Airport flight line
from SpaceShipOne's home. She talked of partnership with the new industry and said it was important for the United States to be the world leader.
She made clear, however, that broad safety issues are the agency's topic No. 1.
"Our first concern will be the safety of the uninvolved public, making sure that as this grows and develops that we're doing everything we can to
protect the folks on the ground, to make sure that the people who go into space understand the risks," she said. "It will be a risky business for
many years to come, no doubt."
I can't believe that I am living in the age where this is actually coming to pass. When i was a kid watching cartoons and movies of space travel, it
was very exciting to me. Now to think that every day citizens will have the chance to soar among the stars is awesome. I hope that I get my turn.