The piece fails to reference the less stringent requirements for a commercial spaceflight participant or the new-new-thing, commercial astronaut. The possible routes to space are growing rapidly as NASA moves to embolden the nascent commercial space carriers. Space Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), Bigelow Aerospace, Orbital Sciences Corporation, and others have or are seeking the new commercial astronauts with mission possibilities around the corner. Congress will look carefully at the safety of utilizing commercial astronauts.
Virginia-based Space Adventures has lofted seven 'spaceflight participants' paying from $20 to $35 million USD for one week of 'hang time' at the International Space Station after rocketing to low earth orbit aboard a Russian cosmonaut piloted Soyuz-TMA spacecraft. No spaceflight participant has yet to conduct a spacewalk for an extra $15 million and the required seven month training regime. The firm has yet confirmed any $100-million flight contracts for the firms advertised circumlunar trajectory mission.