This undated image provided by Virgin Galactic shows Virgin Galactic's first SpaceShipTwo, an air-launched suborbital spaceplane type designed for space tourism. Picture: AP
This undated image provided by Virgin Galactic shows Virgin Galactic's first SpaceShipTwo, an air-launched suborbital spaceplane type designed for space tourism. Picture: AP

Space tourism may grow in coming years, says UN space chief

By Sputnik Time of article published Oct 1, 2021

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WASHINGTON - Space tourism will likely grow in the near future boosted by new technology and capabilities, UN Office for Outer Space Affairs Director, Simonetta Di Pippo, told Sputnik.

"First of all, let's say that tourism in space is not a new phenomenon, because we had some space tourists in the past mainly flying away with the Russian Soyuz capsule to the space station," Di Pippo said. "However, it's clear that with new technology and capabilities, space tourism could become a market in itself and grow in the coming years."

Earlier this year, the richest man on the planet, founder of Amazon and Blue Origin Jeff Bezos, flew into space on the New Shepard spacecraft, accompanied by three more people not along after billionaire Richard Branson accomplished the same feat.

Di Pippo also said she expects these types of flights will be used more and more for conducting experiments in microgravity conditions.

When asked about safety guidelines for space tourism companies, Di Pippo stressed that all the companies have to be in line with the International rules.

"That means that to fly they have to get a license from their authorities," she explained.

The United States - like all the other countries - must ensure all requirements and treaties - like the International Space Law at large – are being respected before issuing licenses, Di Pippo added.

Di Pippo said considerations about these issues have already resonated at the recent UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and its subcommittees and she is certain the work will continue in this context.

COPUOS, established by the UNGA in 1959, held its 64th session from August 25-September 3.

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