NASA Is Changing Its Rules for Private Astronauts

As more private astronauts venture out into space, NASA is seeking to better regulate their journeys to Earth orbit. The space agency recently announced some updates to the set of rules required for upcoming private astronaut missions, including the stipulation that all future missions be led by a former NASA astronaut.

NASA released the list of updated rules on Monday, which will be documented as part of the Private Astronaut Mission Authorization, Coordination, and Execution (PACE) Annex 1. The updates are “lessons learned” from the first private astronaut mission to the ISS, in which Axiom space sent four astronauts to the ISS in April. Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) was led by former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría, but the new requirements now call for all future missions to be led by a former NASA astronaut. For these missions, the NASA astronaut will serve as the mission commander and provide guidance “during pre-flight preparation through mission execution.”

Axiom Space was planning on sending future missions without a NASA astronaut and have four paying customers instead of three, according to SpaceNews. It’s not yet clear how the new rules will affect the private space company’s original plan to launch private missions without a NASA astronaut in command.

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Source: NASA Is Changing Its Rules for Private Astronauts

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