I have read that tourists who performed a sub-orbital spaceflight with Virgin Galactic will receive some kind of astronaut badge. However, on the Wikipedia page on the United States Astronaut Badge, it doesn't say anything about space tourists. What kind of badge will tourists who performed a sub-orbital spaceflight receive?


3 Answers 3


We don't know yet.

The closest we have come is Beth Moses who flew as a "test passenger" in VSS Unity VF-01 and became the first non-pilot and the first woman to be awarded the FAA Commercial Astronaut Wings.

However, the FAA only awards Commercial Astronaut Wings to flight crew who promote the safety of commercial space launch vehicles., and requires, among other things, that the awardee has completed an FAA certified training. (As of now, all awardees are Virgin Galactic pilots with the exception of Beth Moses who is a Virgin Galactic engineer.)

None of this will apply to commercial passengers.

Beth Moses was part of the flight crew, as a test passenger, and received astronaut training (which is an understatement, since she is actually the Chief Astronaut Instructor for Virgin Galactic).

Some astronauts have spoken out in favor of creating a separate, and clearly designated category, to distinguish people who dedicate their lives (sadly too often quite literally) and years over years of hard training to their profession (and passion) on one side from bored rich people on the other.

Of course, nothing is stopping Virgin Galactic from handing out Virgin Galactic Astronaut Badges to their commercial passengers. Nothing is stopping me from handing out an Intergalactic Astronaut Badge to myself either, as long as I don't use any trademarked symbols or phrases in its design.


There was a badge awarding ceremony at the completion of the Unity flight where Chris Hadfield awarded the badges.

You can see Chris Hadfield showing and explaining the badges at this point in the video.

Here he awards Richard Branson his badge and you can see the badge:

enter image description here

However this is clearly not the same as the specimen badge shown on Wikipedia for those awarded previously:

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Note that the question asks about tourists, and all of the people of the flight yesterday were employees of Virgin Galactic, all of them flew either as Mission Specialists or as Pilots, and all of them were actually working during the spaceflight. (Although Mission Specialist #1 (Richard Branson)'s duties of "evaluating customer experience" are somewhat nebulous – but he did mention that there were 30–40 points of potential improvement that he noticed). $\endgroup$ Jul 12, 2021 at 12:31
  • $\begingroup$ looks like a sycamore... $\endgroup$
    – user40799
    Jul 12, 2021 at 18:19

From Guardian Media:

The US government, however, has always recognised the boundary of space to be at about 80km (50 miles) and it awards astronaut wings to anyone who exceeds this altitude. Before Sunday, only 580 people had ever been above this height.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Note that the question asks about tourists, whereas the FAA Commercial Astronaut Wings are only awarded to "flight crew who promote the safety of commercial space launch vehicles", and requires them to have completed an FAA certified training. Which might be why Richard Branson didn't fly as a passenger, but as "Mission Specialist for evaluating customer experience". $\endgroup$ Jul 12, 2021 at 12:34

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