The United States makes an adjustment to the definition of the word astronaut following the exploits carried out by Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, each with their respective companies Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic. New FAA rules say aspiring astronauts must meet two requirements: be part of the flight crew and make contributions to space flight safety.
To qualify as a commercial astronaut, the space traveler must soar 80 kilometers above the Earth's surface, which Branson and Bezos accomplished. However, the US agency advises that they must also have demonstrated in-flight activities that were essential to public safety or contributed to the safety of manned space flight.
The FAA said the changes made were to reinforce the commercial wings scheme with the function of protecting public safety during commercial space flights. The flights made by Jeff Bezos and Ricard Branson are not enough to win the title of astronaut wings. On the other hand, those who want the title of commercial wings must also be nominated. An FAA spokesperson told CNN that they are not currently reviewing any submissions.
The wings Bezos and Branson saw were made by their own companies, but there is still a way for them to be recognized as astronauts, as the new FAA order says there are honorary awards based on merit.