People who buy Joyride until the last frontier can quickly find additional charges on their invoices.
US Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) will introduce a law called the SPACE tax law, which imposes a new excise tax on space travel.
“Space exploration is not a duty-free holiday for wealthy people. Millions of people jump into space to create something of no scientific value, much like a normal American pays taxes when buying a ticket. The elders should do the same, in a statement issued by his office.
“I am not against this kind of space innovation,” added Blumenauer, a senior member of the House of Representatives Method and Means Committee. “But what is done purely for tourism and entertainment and has no scientific purpose should in turn support the public interest.”
Related: Jeff Bezos launched into space on Blue Origin’s first astronaut flight
Blumenau announced the idea of space tax law on Tuesday (July 20th). This is the same day that Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin launched its first manned space flight. In that mission, Blue Origin’s New Shepard Vehicle brought Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Wally Funk, and Dutch physics student Oliver Demen into orbital space.
The flight of Bezos took place just nine days after fellow billionaire Richard Branson flew in Virgin Galactic’s first fully manned spaceflight of VSS Unity ballistic astronauts.
Blue Origin is already in commercial operation. Daimon is a paid customer, and Virgin Galactic aims to do so early next year after making a few more test flights this fall.
Virgin Galactic’s recently announced ticket price was $ 250,000. Blue Origin hasn’t disclosed its price yet, but it’s believed to be included in the six numbers. (Someone paid $ 28 million for a New Shepard seat at an online auction last month, but that was a special situation. Still anonymous auction winners are supposed to fly on a mission on July 20. However, it was canceled later and the seat was Daimon.)
According to the statement, the proposed new tax is likely to be levied on a per-passenger basis, as is done on commercial aviation.
“The exemption will be available for NASA spaceflight for scientific research purposes,” the statement said. “For flights where some passengers are working on behalf of NASA for scientific research purposes and flights with non-NASA passengers, the launch excise tax will be prorated to non-NASA researchers.”
There are two tax levels. One is for under-orbit flight and the other is for missions to reach orbit. The statement did not reveal how much the tax would be in either case, or whether the income collected would be allocated for a particular purpose.
If the full name of the proposed act is a guide, then such purpose could be the fight against climate change. Blumenauer said he was concerned about potential carbon dioxide emissions when the space travel industry was fully operational, the statement said.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018, illustrated by Karl Tate), a book on the quest for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @ michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @ Spacedotcom or Facebook.
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