While Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has now been in space, he’s still not considered an astronaut according to the FAA.
The Federal Aviation Administration set new rules concerning the Commercial Space Astronaut Wings Program and the criteria used to award those commanding, piloting or working on privately funded spacecraft with the Commercial Space Astronaut Wings badge.
The order was issued on July 20, the same day billionaire and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his Blue Origin rocket crew made history by blasting off from the West Texas desert, reaching space and returning to Earth.
NASA, the Air Force, the Federal Aviation Administration and some astrophysicists consider the boundary between the atmosphere and space to begin 50 miles up. Bezos actually met the requirement by going 62 miles above sea level.
To earn the wings, the FAA now states that passengers must have “demonstrated activities during flight that were essential to public safety, or contributed to human space flight safety.” Given the automation of Blue Origin, Bezos doesn’t meet this criteria.