Private Spaceflight Bill Passes

The U.S. Senate gave final congressional approval to the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act (H.R. 5382) on Wednesday, which will allow private citizens to fly on suborbital launch vehicles at their own risk. Backers of this legislation said that it was necessary to encourage space tourism companies, like Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, to risk making flights in the United States. Those opposed to the bill were concerned that regulators would have to stand by until someone actually got hurt before changing the rules.