NASA's decision to engineer its replacement for the space shuttle using imperial measurement units rather than metric could derail efforts to develop a globalised civilian space industry, says a leading light in the nascent commercial spaceflight sector.
"We in the private sector are doing everything possible to create a global market with as much commonality and interoperability as possible," says Mike Gold of the US firm Bigelow Aerospace, which hopes to fly commercial space stations in orbit. "But NASA still can't make the jump to metric."
Gold chairs a Federal Aviation Administration working group on commercial spaceflight that is trying to change strict State Department rules affecting civilian spaceflight systems. He sees NASA's decision to use imperial units as the latest blow to hit the sector.
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