Jeff Bezos may not get his astronaut wings after FAA changes policy on who qualifies – on same day as Blue Origin flight

FORMER Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos may not get his astronaut wings after his historic space mission as the Federal Aviation Administration has amended its policy on who qualifies.

The agency amended its Commercial Astronaut Wings Program on July 20 – the same day that the billionaire blasted himself into space on Blue Origin's maiden flight.

The agency states: “Commerical launch crew members must also demonstrate activities during a flight that were essential to public safety, or contributed to human space flight safety.”

Before the guidance was issued, Bezos and his crewmates would’ve gained their astronaut wings, CNN reports.

This is because they flew to an altitude of at least 50 miles which is the recognized boundary of space.

A spokesperson for the FAA told the news outlet that the ruling was amended because it "aligns more directly to the FAA's role to protect public safety during commercial space operations".

The agency said a space tourist must be nominated if they want to gain their "astronaut wings".

The spokesperson told CNN: “There are no nominations currently before the FAA to review.”

But, Bezos and his crewmates may be presented with an honorary award.


This is issued to “individuals whose contribution to commercial human space flight merits special recognition”, according to the ruling.

The FAA’s associate administrator for commercial space transportation decides who should receive their “honorary” astronaut wings.

Bezos made history as he blasted himself into space but one of the crew members onboard gave the flight just two stars.

Wally Funk, 82, who became the oldest person to fly in space, claimed the capsule didn't go high enough.

Wally traveled on the flight alongside Bezos, 57, his younger brother Mark, 53, and teenager Oliver Daemen in what the Amazon CEO described as the “best day ever.”  

In a post-flight interview with Fox, she spoke of her immense disappointment after she claimed that she failed to see the Earth onboard the Blue Origin Capsule.  

She said: "We went right on up and I saw darkness. I thought I was going to see the world, but we weren’t quite high enough."

Wally admitted that she would've loved the opportunity to spend more time doing "rolls and twists" as the passengers experienced around four minutes of free fall.


Her comments came as Bezos faced a number of criticisms about the use of money on the Blue Origin flight capsule.

Some compared the shape of the rocket to a penis and the billionaire was mocked for wearing a cowboy hat.

The flight cost a total of $5.5 billion and Bezos has been forced to defend the program as he said such critics are “largely right”, but denied that space travel and improvements at home are in conflict.

Amazon customers and workers fumed after the mogul said “you paid for this” after the flight.

He said: "I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all this.

"So seriously, for every Amazon customer out there and every Amazon employee thank you from the bottom of my heart very it's very appreciated."

Former Harvard scientist Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding said: "(Narrator whispers)… paid with underpaid labor in sweatshop conditions all while you didn’t pay much taxes."

Bezos' mission came nine days after Virgin Galactic's Sir Richard Branson launched his own flight from New Mexico on July 11.

Bezos' capsule was completely automated and required no official staff on board for the up-and-down flight.

Blue Origin reached an altitude of about 66 miles, more than 10 miles higher than Branson’s July 11 ride.

The 60-foot booster accelerated to Mach 3 or three times the speed of sound to get the capsule high enough, before separating and landing upright.

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