Space Quote: Space Cowboys or Space Tourists?

Image (Credit): SpaceX AX-1 mission to the International Space Station. (SpaceX)

“We are not space tourists.”

Statement by Michael López-Alegría who traveled as a private citizen (and former NASA astronaut) to the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday as part of SpaceX’s AX-1 mission.

Why does this remind me of the statement “I am not a crook”? Mr. López-Alegría leads the mission carrying three wealthy passengers who spent about $55 million apiece to stay on the ISS for eight days and basically get in the way of working astronauts. I thought Bigelow was working on inflatable space hotels. Wouldn’t that be more appropriate? And maybe that $55 million could go towards STEM classes for students who want to go to space as a career rather than a joyride. Just an idea.

Image (Credit): Artist’s rendering of a Bigelow inflatable space station. (Bigelow Space Ops)