The second man to walk on the moon says he hopes everyday citizens can soon enjoy the adventures of space.
"I support any effort to get private citizens into space as soon as possible," former astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin told The Associated Press in a recent interview. "It would become a driving force for new technology."
So far, NASA has rejected suggestions that space travel be open to civilians, saying they lack sufficient training for the dangerous missions.
The space agency objected after the Russian space program agreed to accept millions of dollars from California businessman Dennis Tito in exchange for a trip to the international space station.
The 71-year-old Aldrin said developments in space exploration will languish unless NASA takes advantage of the untapped market for civilian space trips.
"This is a payload that pays for the chance to take the trip," he said. "Safety must be emphasized, but we need to accept that some things do have dangers."