The Evolution of Commercial Astronauts
The problem with commercial spaceflight is that it sets new standards that don’t exist in writing. It is evolving so quickly that the measures may not have even been developed yet! Flight participants don’t have a set system of choosing applicants, except for those who can afford it. That puts them at risk if medical screenings are improperly done, and there’s no consistent method of selection between agencies. Therefore, the process of taking on astronauts by NASA may be thrown out the window altogether. Since they’re not looking for the highest performing individuals, agencies may only have bare minimum medical standards for who can go on these flights.
The very definition of “astronaut” varies across different agencies, and there are even other words used for someone with the same set of tasks. Astronaut means “star sailor,” while cosmonaut means “sailor of the cosmos.” In 2003, when China sent out their own men into space, the debate over its own words rippled through the industry. Would they use the outlandish “Chinanaut?” Of course not. They mostly stuck to yuhangyuan, meaning “space navigator,” though taikonaut, which merged the Chinese word for space (taikong) with the Greek word for sailor (naus), seems to be more prevalent.