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Sunday, September 26, 1999 Published at 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK


Aldrin calls for 'space tourism'

A Nasa success: Columbia gets a piggy-back to the garage

The former Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin has said it's time for "regular people" to go into space.

Aldrin, the second man to set foot on the moon 30 years ago, said: "By October 2000 we should be sending up a journalist who can tell people in a professional way what it's like to go into space.

"Then every six months or so, Nasa should make space available, a seat on the shuttle for regular people to go into orbit."

[ image: Buzz Aldrin:
Buzz Aldrin: "You don't want to bring back a bunch of dead tourists"
"I'm talking about everyday citizens who enjoy adventure opportunities - maybe the bungee jumpers of space," Mr Aldrin told ABC News.

Mr Aldrin was in Texas to launch a space-tourism business.

His ambitious project involves using an Atlas 3 rocket booster to fire people out to "space hotels".

The re-usable booster is built in Texas - which is also home to the Johnson Space Centre.

But Mr Aldrin is realistic about the safety risks involved in "keeping the people alive".

"You don't want to bring back a bunch of dead tourists," he said.

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