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Space tourists to get limited protection

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Written by editor

The European Aviation Safety Agency is developing safety rules for civilian space flight – but they will only apply while craft are in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The European Aviation Safety Agency is developing safety rules for civilian space flight – but they will only apply while craft are in the Earth’s atmosphere.

With Sweden already building a spaceport from which Virgin Galactic may offer flights into the aurora borealis, EASA has decided to act. “Both [Virgin’s] carrier aircraft and the rocket-powered aeroplane/glider would meet the definition of an aircraft, and therefore fall under EASA’s scope,” says a spokesman.

But the agency admits it cannot legislate for flights beyond the atmosphere: “EASA has no competency nor mandate for outer space, where international law applies.” The International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety wants a United Nations-backed global agreement that mandates safety measures in space.