The Space Frontier
Foundation called on NASA and its international partners to stop
using politics as the primary selection criteria for determining who
goes into space. Responding to comments by ISS partners and members
of Congress, the Foundation believes that the debate over California
businessman Dennis Tito’s possible flight on a Russian Soyuz is a
clear example of how politicians and politics have come to overshadow
all other concerns.

"This crisis is not about Dennis Tito or astronauts vs. citizen
explorers, or how a wealthy individual spends his money, or even
whether the Russians have the right to do with their spacecraft as
they please," stated Foundation President Rick Tumlinson.
"It is about who makes these decisions and what criteria are
used to make them."

Over two years ago, NASA thought it would be good politics to send
John Glenn for a ride into space. At the time Mr. Tumlinson said
"This simply reinforces the image of space as an elite
playground for friends of the government. But imagine if he had
bought his ticket instead!" [See:]
"But now that we have a man who is simply rich rather than
politically powerful, suddenly space is too risky. People in our
society have always had the right to risk their own lives. If Mr.
Tito wanted to climb Mt. Everest or sail his own small boat across an
ocean, nobody would complain. I’ve spoken to Mr. Tito about this and
he clearly understands the risks," said Mr. Tumlinson. "If
what the international partners are worried about is that Mr. Tito is
a threat, either to the space station or to the other people on the
station, then that would be entirely different and they should say
Concluded Tumlinson: "This is about who the space agencies
really built the station for, and how it should be governed. This is
only the first of what will be many, many such confrontations unless
a non-political management structure can be created."


The Space Frontier Foundation is an organization
of people dedicated to opening the Space Frontier to human settlement
as rapidly as possible. Our goals include protecting the Earth’s
fragile biosphere and creating a freer and more prosperous life for
each generation by using the unlimited energy and material resources
of space. Our purpose is to unleash the power of free enterprise and
lead a united humanity permanently into the Solar System.