You know the FAA did this on purpose:
Federal aviation regulators have made a rare change to the requirements for its Commercial Astronaut Wings Program, meaning Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos may not officially be recognized for his spaceflight this week.
The Federal Aviation Administration changed rules for the program on the same day Bezos, his brother and two others made their historic first commercial spaceflight on Tuesday.
For the first time in 17 years, the FAA updated its Commercial Astronaut Wings Program. Before the change, all that was required to be recognized was to fly to at least an altitude of 50 miles.
The guys at the FAA must have been super jealous. All they do is put red tape around the awesomeness that is human flight and Bezos used his self-built business empire to actually LAUNCH HIMSELF INTO SPACE.
The wonderful bureaucratic agency said that in order to qualify as an official astronaut, you have to be doing activities on the flight that are "essential to public safety" or contribute to "spaceflight safety."
I mean, considering this was the first human flight of a company that will help make space travel cheap for the masses, I'd call that pretty dang "essential" to advancing the effectiveness and safety of such a flight.
Oh, the FAA also said it will have to issue permits for anyone claiming to be an astronaut and their vehicle will have to be licensed by them.
The changes mean that those who flew on Tuesday will not be technically considered astronauts by the government.
Don't you love it? The second anyone does anything cool, the government immediately acts to retain their power and find a way to take their pound of flesh. It was bad enough when the FAA did it for drone enthusiasts: it's a billion times worse for space flight!
Meanwhile, billionaire Richard Branson WILL get his astronaut wings:
A little more than a week before the Blue Origin flight, Virgin Galactic CEO and founder Richard Branson flew to space aboard Virgin's SpaceShipTwo. He and three others aboard the flight received their wings as part of the program, as it occurred before the change.
Sorry, FAA. Your arbitrary rules don't get to define who is and isn't an astronaut. Once you've flown suborbital on your own rocket, come back and we'll talk.