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Retired astronaut hopes commercial space flight will be open for all

KCCI Des Moines logo KCCI Des Moines 7/27/2021
a screen shot of Clayton Anderson © Provided by KCCI Des Moines clayton anderson

A new chapter in space travel is here, but one astronaut tells KCCI it won't be available to most Iowans for a while.

Clayton Anderson is a retired astronaut who teaches at Iowa State University. He’s been watching the past couple weeks as competing billionaires launched themselves into space.

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Anderson says it's exciting, but not achievable for all. He says it's only available to the extremely wealthy right now.

He says the idea is that they will continue to launch flights, and prices will come down. Anderson hopes that will actually happen.

Meanwhile, he's already incorporated commercial flights into his curriculum at Iowa State University. The retired astronaut teaches intro to aerospace engineering.

"The key here is that they're developing new technologies. Virgin Galactic did it one way, and Blue Origin did it another way. Totally different approaches to the same, similar problem, and when you do that sort of thing, you develop new technology, and that's where humans on Earth will benefit," Anderson said.

Anderson says he wants more people from the Midwest to be considered as astronauts someday. He's specifically rooting for his students at ISU.

He believes ISU is the only institution with a retired astronaut, retired fighter pilot and retired NASA space station flight director on their faculty in aerospace engineering.

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