Fasten your seat belts...

I share Jeff Foust's surprise that AP would run a story, which was in fact widely picked up across news venues, that Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta commented at last week's FAA space transportation conference that the first commercial space passengers could liftoff by 2008. When I heard the Secretary's remark myself, I reported it here, but didn't consider it earth-shaking news. As Jeff noted, commercial space companies have already been saying that, and more. (Jeff did track down the DOT press release that sparked the mini news frenzy. Ah. But why did the Department itself consider the remark a big deal? Slow day in transportation news?)

Sometimes media outlets hang on the words of a cabinet secretary as if he or she is a celebrity. And speaking of celebrities, during what has not been a slow news life for Britney Spears, I'm sure the young pop star Mom was not happy today to read as a top news story that the DOT chief himself
publicly slammed her for driving a car with her infant on her lap rather than securing the baby in a child safety seat. Who knew Mineta would have input into that major calamity? (Actually, I have 5 young nieces and nephews and Auntie Jesse is all about kid safety, too.)

Heads up space travelers. Mineta will be ready to give the first private space passengers his "green-light," as he has announced. But you better be ready to buckle those safety belts!

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