Well, it looks like the crash of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo on October 31 may change all that -- meaning government regulations for private spaceflight may be on their way. For now, the FAA is waiting on the results of the accident investigation before it makes any official regulatory changes. But the agency hinted at modifications to come in a recent statement to Bloomberg News:
Last night, Virgin Galactic held a press conference intended as its last connected directly to SpaceShipTwo’s crash on Friday. The conference had three major themes: the crash investigation is ongoing, the cutting edge of transportation technology always carries risk, and despite setbacks Virgin Galactic has no intention to abandon space tourism.
In 2004, I sat down in a flight simulator at Scaled Composites with test pilot and engineer Peter Siebold. He'd built the simulator—a precise replica of the cockpit in Scaled's radically unconventional SpaceShipOne (SS1). That ship was the predecessor of SpaceShipTwo (SS2), which broke apart over the Mojave Desert on Friday. Siebold was at the controls at the time of the accident, with Mike Alsbury as co-pilot
So DARPA wants a reusable spaceplane. I mean, who doesn't? For decades, space experts have tried to design quick-turnover, reusable launch systems. So far, however, no one has made one that works. "There really isn't any kind of vehicle today that does exactly what they're asking people to do," Micah Walter-Range, director of research and analysis at the Space Foundation, tells Popular Science. "You can certainly compare it to existing vehicles, but it seems to be a new class."
Tourists, no need to worry about picking an outfit for your suborbital flight—this flexible, comfortable suit has you covered. Final Frontier Design (FFD), a private design firm based in Brooklyn, has partnered with Starfighters Aerospace to further develop and optimize its 3G space suit for intra-vehicular activity (meaning launch, re-entry, and cabin activities) on Starfighters' F-104 supersonic jets that also fly suborbital missions.