Washington Post

As private companies erode government's hold on space travel, NASA looks to open a new frontier

The Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center is an iconic symbol of NASA that once housed the Saturn V rocket that took Apollo astronauts to the moon. Foto: Washington Post/Jonathan Newton

The four astronauts who will fly aboard a SpaceX mission by the end of the year will be a bunch of private citizens with no space experience. One's a billionaire funding the mission; another a health care provider. The third will be selected at random through a sweepstakes, and the last seat will go to the winner of a competition.

In the new Space Age, you can buy a ticket to orbit - no need to have been a fighter pilot in the military or to compete against thousands of other overachievers for a coveted spot in NASA's astronaut corps...

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