London, Nov 10 : With plans underway for passenger space travel becoming a reality by the middle of next decade, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has started developing safety rules for civilian space flight.
According to a report in New Scientist, EASA has decided to develop the new rules after Sweden built a spaceport from which Virgin Galactic may offer flights into the aurora borealis, a major attraction for people.
"Both (Virgin's) carrier aircraft and the rocket-powered aeroplane/glider would meet the definition of an aircraft, and therefore fall under EASA's scope," said a spokesman.
The International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety also wants a United Nations-backed global agreement that mandates safety measures in space.
A number of scientists are convinced that "space tourism" and "sub-orbital point to point travel" (SPTP) are on the point of becoming flourishing industries.
Space tourism, which is already a reality, can only be afforded by the affluent, as companies like Virgin Atlantic can charge exorbitant prices like 200,000 (US) dollars or 125,000 pounds for a space flight.
But, this is just a staging post for the ultimate goal, which is traveling through space to get from one side of the globe to the other in a couple of hours.
The advocates of SPTP see it as the 21st century equivalent of taking a trip on Concorde - and appealing to the same sort of clientele.
It would enable people to go from one side of the globe to the other in a couple of hours.
Such travel will not come cheap, as one estimate suggests a ticket for a round trip taking in London, Tokyo and New York would cost more than 43,000 pounds.
But, the fares in the middle of the next decade will be the equivalent of what passengers were paying to fly on Concorde during its heyday.