A ‘wild environment’: Uncertain safety rules await space tourists

A prototype of SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft is seen at the company’s Texas launch facility near Brownsville, Texas. | Loren Elliott/Getty Images

By JACQUELINE FELDSCHER

12/25/2019 07:06 AM EST

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When buckling up for a road trip, passengers can be confident the vehicle has met a range of federal and state safety regulations — from the durability of the car’s frame to reliability of the brakes and performance of the seat belts.

But when the first space tourists strap in for their maiden voyage to space in 2020, they’ll have no such guarantees.

No federal regulator will have certified whether the spacecraft is safe — and only a patchwork of authorities exists to investigate a private space disaster, a POLITICO investigation found.

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