As the launch date for billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space flight nears, the question of “Who’s watching the kids?” is gaining prominence.
The parents, in this case, are the top officials at NASA.
“I’m keeping my eye on it, but they’re going to have to meet the same rigorous physical and psychological examination for any other professional astronaut,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson told Fox Business. “We want the crew that’s already up there on the space station to be safe when they have visitors and you should expect nothing less.”
Nelson, a member of the U.S. House in 1986, was a payload specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia.
Bezos, along with his brother and an auction-winning passenger who shelled out $28 million to be on board, plans his launch for July 20.
SpaceX (and Tesla) CEO Elon Musk has a few big-time ideas about space travel too, but NASA wants to keep the rich guys reined in.
In Congress, plans need to be developed to clarify government agencies’ role in supervising and monitoring spaceflight progress.
And the rich kids are keen to move forward rapidly – while keeping a close eye on each other.
Last year, Musk’s SpaceX won the race to become the first private company to fly NASA astronauts into space.
Fellow space-obsessed billionaire Richard Branson mentioned Bezos via Twitter.
“Many congratulations to @JeffBezos & his brother Mark on announcing spaceflight plans. Jeff started building @blueorigin in 2000, we started building @virgingalacticin 2004 & now both are opening up access to Space – how extraordinary! Watch this space…”
Fox Business’ story said a report in Parobolic Air intimated Branson is eager to one-up Bezos.
Musk and Bezos have sent each other a few messages, too, about their respective space-travel progress.