Space tourism is on the rise. Can NASA keep up with it?
An overly aggressive timetable caused some hiccups in the professional astronauts' work performance when Axiom Space deployed the first private crew to the ISS
Although it's unclear whether the trip affected the ISS crew's scientific objectives, the mood there was tense a classic case of having too many cooks in the kitchen
Operations were sufficiently influenced that NASA released new regulations that private space businesses will have to follow if they continue to participate in spaceflight operations moving forward.
These regulations were inspired by the combined experiences of the ISS and Axiom astronauts.
What those modifications would entail, though, will depend on how accommodating and supportive NASA is of the still-developing sector.
Notably, the agency may mandate that a former NASA astronaut lead private spaceflights, effectively turning it into a permanent bridge between public and US-based private space business.
Michael Lopez-Alegra, a former NASA astronaut, and three first-time passengers—a businessman, an investor, and a real estate magnate—were already on board the Axiom mission.
During a press briefing following the expedition, López-Alegra commented, "We got up there and, oh, we were overwhelmed."
"Getting acclimated to zero gravity is not something that happens instantly."
Space tourism firms may also be required to submit proof of the private astronauts' work schedules in order to prevent crowded itineraries during flight.
Additionally, private businesses will now submit research requests to the International Space Station National Laboratory no later than a year before projected launch
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