The TSA... In Space?
Imagine this scenario, in a few years hence: after scrimping and
saving, you've accumulated enough money (hopefully, by this time
tickets are under $100K) to afford a trip into space aboard a
private spacecraft -- let's say, Virgin Galactic Flight 182,
scheduled to depart from the Truth Or Consequences, NM Cosmodrome
at 13:30 local.
You arrive at the spaceport at 11 -- plenty of time to check in,
grab a bite to eat at Astro-Garduno's (NM natives will understand)
and, perhaps, walk around the facility to examine its artifacts
from the history of rocketry. And then, and about 12 or so -- you
REALLY want to make sure you make your flight -- you get in line
Such a scenario will likely become a reality, according to the
FAA. (Well, except for the restaurant -- green chile enchiladas
probably aren't the best things to consume before experiencing
3g's, followed by weightlessness.)
In today's security climate, no potential threat can be
overlooked -- and that includes passengers who might wish to blow
up a suborbital spaceflight, or otherwise use it as a weapon. Which
means paying customers on commercial spaceflights would have to
meet security requirements, same as airline passengers.
In its draft proposal
last week on regulations to govern the likely scenario of private
spaceflight, the FAA also stated commercial operators will have to
advise passengers about all safety risks inherent to the flight --
including how many flights the spacecraft has under its wheels, as
well as the problems experienced on the ground and during
"Space flight remains inherently risky," the agency said,
according to a CNN/Reuters report.
Passengers would also have to meet certain training standards to
handle emergency situations -- such as a loss of cabin pressure, or
fire -- but it's unlikely they would have to seek a separate