Sunday, July 18, 1999 Published at 21:52 GMT 22:52 UK
Apollo veteran wants civilians in space
Buzz Aldrin: The second man to walk on the Moon
Civilians should be allowed into space as soon as possible, lunar astronaut Buzz Aldrin has said on the BBC World Service's Talking Point On Air programme.
Answering questions from a world audience in a live phone-in to mark 30 years since the historic mission to the moon, the space hero said: "It's about time that ordinary people be given the opportunity to fly in space.
"I think it should happen soon, but it will be a very narrow selection.
It won't be the wealthy people but it will be specially selected and I think there should be an open selection process.
"We want very qualified people, but that doesn't mean that ordinary income people cannot be selected to do that.
"I don't see why we don't start by taking a journalist up before the selection. And I'd like to see that happen by October next year."
The 69-year-old Apollo veteran also insisted he had no regrets about not being the first man on the moon.
"The crew always thought the most significant thing we did was to land on the moon," he said.
"I was rather relieved I didn't have to respond to all sorts of questions about what am I going to say when I get on the Moon.
"That was Neil's. He has had to take the attention of the world as the first man to be on the surface of the moon.
"I have not had to deal with that. And that has a considerable impact on a person's life and was not one I was seeking in the least."
Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin logged over 288 hours in space.
Click here for Talking Point On Air with Buzz Aldrin