Related and potentially helpful here: What kind of badge will tourists who performed a sub-orbital spaceflight receive? but here I'm asking specifically about the US government's future plans.
There's clearly something of an edge in the Branson-Bezos relationship, however.
On Friday, the retail billionaire's Blue Origin space company had issued a tweet that took a pop at Virgin Galactic's Unity vehicle. The posting repeated a claim that anyone who flew on the rocket plane would forever have an asterisk by their name because they wouldn't reach the "internationally recognised" altitude for where space begins - the so-called Kármán line of 100km.
The US government 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.
Of course several companies are hoping and planning to make this number much, much larger; their business models depend on it. SpaceX has even suggested "Anywhere on Earth in under an hour" point-to-point suborbital ICBM-esque rocket-hopping. (Both Elon Musk and Gwynne Shotwell have touched on this possible future in public remarks)
Question: Does the US government plan to issue "Astronaut Wings" for anyone (space tourists or even just daily rocket-hopping passengers) passing 80 km forever?
- Or at some point will they have to pass the task (and the expense) to a private entity?
- Are there already plans in the works to do so?
- Who makes them and pays for them currently?