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Current Affairs

No astronaut wings for commercial space travelers

Date: 15 December 2021 Tags: Space


Commercial astronauts who visit space on private missions will not be given Astronaut Wings, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced.



Astronaut wings are pins that are given to individuals who fly to space. From now on, individuals reaching space will be recognised on website.



  • Jeff Bezos (of Blue Origin), Sir Richard Branson (of Virgin Galactic) and Mike Melville have been recognised under Commercial Space Astronaut Wings program.

  • This honour is given to commercial pilots and crew that have reached an altitude of at least 50 statute miles above the surface of the Earth.


The Commercial Space Astronaut Wings programme

The programme came under the Commercial Space Launch Act of 1984 to recognize individuals who promoted the development of vehicles designed to carry humans into space.



  • An individual must meet the requirements for flight crew qualifications and training to be eligible for the astronaut wings.

  • They must be able to demonstrate having been on a flight beyond 50 miles above the surface of the Earth on a licensed or permitted launch or re-entry vehicle. 

  • They should demonstrate activities during flight that were important to public safety or should have contributed to human space flight safety.


Reasons for end of practice

  • With the rise of private companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic, it has become easier to access space.

  • The challenge barrier has now been broken and it will be better to honor such space tourists with their names on website.