The FAA is giving Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and other private spaceflight passengers official ‘astronaut wings’ before discontinuing the honor

split image richard branson smiling jeff bezos laughing in cowboy hat both wearing blue spacesuits
Richard Branson (left) and Jeff Bezos (right) both flew to the edge of space in July 2021.

Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, William Shatner, and 12 others will be given official “astronaut” wings by the Federal Aviation Administration, the agency announced on Friday. 

The FAA awards its Commercial Astronaut Wings to those who have launched at least 50 miles above the Earth’s surface on an FAA-approved spacecraft.   

The 15 individuals receiving the symbolic honor hail from a SpaceX crew, Blue Origin’s New Shepherd craft, and Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, the FAA said in a statement

But this batch of individuals will be the last to hold the accolade, the FAA said. January 1 marks the end of the “wings” program. Space travelers who break the 50-mile barrier will simply have their names listed on an FAA website instead.

All in all, only 24 people will have received the FAA’s commercial astronaut wings.

The news was first reported by CNN.

Read the original article on Business Insider