Space tourists Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson cannot claim the title of astronaut: the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the first time since 2004 clarified the criteria for assignment, writes the BBC.
"In connection with the clarification that the FFA made to the rules, from now on, only those who are part of the crew and make a significant contribution to ensuring the safety of the flight can be considered an astronaut," the agency writes.
What exactly this wording means, the department did not explain, therefore, it will be at FFA sole discretion to decide compliance with the rules.
According to the rules, a space flight is considered to be at least 80 km from the surface of the planet, therefore, in theory, billionaires could claim the title of astronauts and receive "astronaut's wings" - a badge that is awarded to participants in commercial space missions in the United States.
On July 11 billionaire Richard Branson went on a tourist flight to the edge of space and checked it by himself for future private clients. This was the first test mission called Virgin Galactic Unity-22. On July 20, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos went into space aboard his space company Blue Origin's New Shepard.