The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has changed the rules of the Commercial Space Flight program for the first time since its introduction in 2004 in a way that no longer qualifies Jeff Bezos or Richard Branson as astronauts. The new rule required space travelers to demonstrate “activities during flight that were essential to public safety or contributed to human space flight safety” to be able to earn their astronaut wings. A spokesperson for the FAA stated that the rule change was made because it “aligns more directly to the FAA’s role to protect public safety during commercial space operations.”

On the other hand, the commercial astronaut wings credited by the FAA carry no legal significance or privileges; it’s just a matter of recognition. Both Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic have wings of their own that they bestow on whoever they see fit.

Previously On...: Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson surpassed a 50-mile (80 km) altitude within the scope of the company’s second rocket-powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo Unity on July 11th and became the first billionaire in space. Similarly, Blue Origin also sent its founder, Jeff Bezos, past 62 miles (100 km), a boundary known as the Kármán line, on a spaceflight that lasted about 10 minutes on July 20th. Under normal circumstances, both of them would have qualified for FAA commercial astronaut wings just because they have traveled to an altitude of above 50 miles.

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