Full access to Entrepreneur for $5

Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson already astronauts? America says no

Billionaires do not meet the necessary requirements to be considered astronauts, according to the FAA.

This article was translated from our Spanish edition. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In the last month, millionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson went into space. Branson took off on July 11 from New Mexico, while Bezos made his trip on July 20 .

El Español

Although both entrepreneurs technically went to space, they are not astronauts. At least not by the US definition.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) made an adjustment to the meaning of "astronaut" after both trips. From now on, to be considered an astronaut, you have to meet the following two requirements: be part of the flight crew and make contributions to the safety of space flights.

The agency created a new term called "commercial astronaut" and to be considered one you must rise at least 80 km above Earth, among other things.

On July 20, the FAA published a document with the necessary guidelines for them to be considered astronauts. Although they met the distance requirement, they did not meet the requirement that it was necessary to "demonstrate activities during a flight that were essential to public safety or contributed to human safety during flights."

This is done with the function of protecting public safety during commercial space flights.