When SpaceShipOne won the Ansari X-Prize in 2004, it launched the commercial space tourism industry. In 2007 Burt Rutan said, “We think that 100,000 people will fly by 2020” (Rutan, 2007). This will create a need for qualified crews to operate these spacecraft. The purpose of this qualitative, exploratory study was to investigate the possible selection criteria of these crews. Data was collected from telephone and email interviews with four U.S.-suborbital space tourism companies and Purdue University's astronaut alumni network. Grounded Theory and Truth and Reality Testing were used as the theoretical framework for data analysis. The data gathered suggests that the commercial astronaut should have at least a Bachelor's degree in engineering, have a test pilot background with thousands of hours of pilot-in-command time in high performance jet aircraft, be confident yet humble, and have a fundamental understanding of his/her spacecraft, including spacecraft trajectories, and emergency procedures.
& Ropp, T.
(2011). The Selection of Commercial Astronauts for Suborbital Spaceflight. 16th International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 281-286.