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Press Release
Media Contact: 800-787-7223 or press@space-frontier.org
Space Frontier Foundation Endorses Space Station "Tourist" Standards

ISS Alpha December 2001
International Space Station Alpha in a NASA photo from December 2001.
Los Angeles, CA, February 1, 2002 – The Space Frontier Foundation congratulated International Space Station Alpha partners for reaching a consensus on standards for visitors to the new orbital facility. Reacting to the release of NASA's criteria for crewmembers and "tourist" visitors, the organization's leaders expressed cautious optimism that NASA and the other space agencies were at last accepting the inevitable development of a space tourism industry.

Foundation President Rick Tumlinson stated: "We may quibble with a couple of the clauses, such as the one potentially barring those who have been critical of the space agencies from flying, but generally this is a good start.

"Primarily, we are pleased to see NASA and its partners acknowledging the reality that when it comes to humans, space is more than an exclusive government domain." He continued, "although we believe that in the long run commercial facilities such as orbital hotels will be more popular and appropriate tourist destinations than ISS Alpha, this policy will allow all partners (and in particular the Russians) to generate much needed income for their programs by flying paying guests in the near term."

In the past, the Foundation often decried NASA's inability to work with the private sector in human space activities, and strongly criticized the agency's handling of the flight of California businessman Dennis Tito to Alpha in 2001. Tumlinson, who originally signed up Tito to fly in space in 1999, and who took part in last year's Congressional hearing on the flight, said that he and the Foundation are happy that the new regime at NASA is starting off by opening up and standardizing a process that has at times been seen as arcane, arbitrary and designed to keep ordinary people out of space.

"This is a very refreshing start for the new NASA leadership team," remarked Tumlinson. "There may be a few bumps on the road ahead, but we look forward to a new partnership on the space frontier, with all the space agencies leading the charge in science, technology research and pure exploration, and the private sector developing new products, destinations and other commercial activities such as tourism."

The Space Frontier Foundation is an organization of people dedicated to opening the Space Frontier to human settlement as rapidly as possible. Our goals include protecting the Earth's fragile biosphere and creating a freer and more prosperous life for each generation by using the unlimited energy and material resources of space. Our purpose is to unleash the power of free enterprise and lead a united humanity permanently into the Solar System.

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The Frontier Enabling Test
Our definition of a "frontier enabling" technology or policy is one which has as its effect the acceleration of the creation of low cost access to the space frontier for private citizens and companies, enables or accelerates our use of space resources, and/or accelerates the rate at which wealth can be generated in space. In other words, is the project or policy going to provide a return on the national investment, if we define "return" to be the economically sustainable human habitation of space?

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