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posted by janrinok on Wednesday August 03, @06:28PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the grockles-of-means dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

In an Aug. 1 procurement notice, NASA announced changes in requirements for future solicitations for private astronaut missions, or PAMs, to the station. The changes, the agency said, came from the experience from the first such mission, Axiom Space’s Ax-1 flight in April, “and other recent civilian-crew spaceflight.”

One of the biggest changes, and one still being finalized according to the procurement notice, is a requirement that such missions have “a former flown NASA (U.S.) government astronaut” as a commander. “A former NASA astronaut provides experienced guidance for the private astronauts during pre-flight preparation through mission execution,” the document states, and “provides a link between the resident ISS expedition crew and the private astronauts and reduces risk to ISS operations and PAM/ISS safety.”

The Ax-1 mission was led by a former NASA astronaut, Michael López-Alegría. The company’s second mission, the only other PAM approved to date by NASA, will also be led by a former NASA astronaut, Peggy Whitson.

“It became pretty clear, first of all, that customers really didn’t want to fly with nobody who has done it before,” López-Alegría recalled of planning for the Ax-1 mission during a talk at the ISS Research and Development Conference July 28. “Secondly, NASA was a lot more comfortable having someone who had been there before.”

However, Axiom executives said shortly before the Ax-1 mission that they were looking ahead to missions without a professional astronaut on board. Michael Suffredini, president and chief executive of Axiom, said at an April 1 briefing that the company expected to fly four customers, rather than three customers and one professional astronaut, by its fourth mission.


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  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Wednesday August 03, @06:52PM

    by looorg (578) on Wednesday August 03, @06:52PM (#1264814)

    How nice of them to create a market for their previous astronauts, sort of like how pilots got trained by air forces to then move over to the private sector and fly commercial jets. Better pay and hours and such I would imagine.

    Is there a different between a NASA astronaut and a NASA government astronaut? What do they call those people from ESA or JAXA etc that also astronaut it to space and the ISS? Are they qualified?

  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, @07:12PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, @07:12PM (#1264820)

    One of the biggest changes, and one still being finalized according to the procurement notice, is a requirement that such missions have “a former flown NASA (U.S.) government astronaut” as a commander.

    Those evil Democrats are doing it again!

    First it was spewing all sorts of money at the losers who couldn't get other jobs [theguardian.com], and now it's another government overreach, mostly in favor of those same losers [veteransunited.com].

    Those evil, communist fuckers are just trying win votes with gobs and gobs of money from the government teat!

    Everyone knows that all you need is a couple hours with KSP [wikipedia.org] and a xeroxed copy of a certificate from the Al Sims [wikipedia.org] Astronaut School in order to be qualified enough to command a space mission. Geez Louise!

    At least the real Americans are trying to rein that communist domination shit in [cnn.com].

    Oh, wait. I mean At least the real Americans are trying to rein that communist domination shit in [newsweek.com].

    N.B.: For those of you not familiar with Poe's Law, this is a chance to see it in action. [wikipedia.org]

    • (Score: 0, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, @07:49PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, @07:49PM (#1264829)

      Another ridiculous mod, this is hardly flamebait.
      Sheesh, you even gave them the link to Poe's Law.

      Conclusion, anything short of using the word "sarcasm" is too complex for the stupid moderators, whoever they are.

      • (Score: 0, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, @07:59PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, @07:59PM (#1264832)

        AC to whose comment you replied here.

        Whether you agree or disagree with the content (in the context of Poe's Law or not) of the post, it could certainly be considered (and was meant to be) inflammatory. And funny, but that's quite subjective.

        As such, a 'Flamebait' mod is probably appropriate. Which is another good reason to read SN at '-1'. Especially with the recent changes to AC posting.

        And just as your comment was 'Offtopic' (that mod was me, BTW), so is this one. As I can't downmod my own posts, would someone please mod this one 'Offtopic' as well? Thanks!

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