Trump sues House Committee, NY AG, in ongoing effort to block access to his tax records

Epics/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump on Tuesday filed another lawsuit in his ongoing effort to block a congressional committee from accessing his tax records, this time targeting authorities in his home state.

This latest suit names the House Ways and Means Committee, New York Attorney General Letitia James and the commissioner of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance, Michael Schmidt.

Earlier this month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into a law the TRUST Act, which would authorize the state's Department of Taxation and Finance to share state tax return information with a requesting congressional committee.

"Like House Democrats, Democratic officials in New York have used every tool at their disposal to expose the president's private financial information," lawyers for Trump wrote in their complaint. "And like House Democrats, their goal is to retaliate against President Trump and damage him politically."

ABC News has reported that the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., has hesitated to use the new law to request the president's state returns, but in their complaint, the president's lawyers claim that Neal has "expressed a renewed interest in utilizing" the statute.

The president's legal team argues that the committee has "no legitimate legislative purpose" in requesting the president's state tax returns and asks the court to keep the state and Congress from accessing his state returns.

"We have filed a lawsuit today in our ongoing efforts to end Presidential harassment," said the president's attorney Jay Sekulow in a statement. "The harassment tactics lack a legitimate legislative purpose. The actions taken by the House and New York officials are nothing more than political retribution."

The New York attorney general, in a statement on Tuesday defended her state's efforts to acquire Trump's returns.

"President Trump has spent his career hiding behind lawsuits, but, as New York's chief law enforcement officer, I can assure him that no one is above the law -- not even the president of the United States," James said in the statement.

The lawsuit further argues that members of Congress cannot use the new state law as an end run around the Treasury Department's decision not to release the president's federal tax returns.

"Once it became clear that Treasury would not divulge the President's federal returns, New York passed a law allowing the Committee to get his state returns," the lawsuit said. "Because the Committee's jurisdiction is limited to federal taxes, no legislation could possibly result from a request for the President's state tax returns. The Committee thus lacks a legitimate legislative purpose for using the TRUST Act."

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Airplanes may be getting a middle seat upgrade

Molon Labe Seating(NEW YORK) -- The dreaded middle seat on some airplanes may be getting an upgrade with a new FAA-approved design featuring a wider seat and more elbow room.

The S1 Space Seat design, developed by Molon Labe Seating in Lakewood, Colorado, places the middle seat a few inches lower and slightly behind the aisle and window seats. This arrangement increases the width of the middle seat by about three inches.

"We were just trying to make it a bit less miserable," CEO of Molon Labe Seating Hank Scott said. "We chose the middle seat because no one loves the middle seat."

Each seat is equipped with a smartphone and tablet holder, USB port and latchless table. The seats also allow for more elbow room because the armrests are designed so that the middle passenger uses the back end of the armrest while the aisle and window passengers use the front end.

"We have solved the elbow wars," Scott said.

Designed for short-haul, low cost airlines, Molon Labe says one airline has already placed a "big order," and is in negotiations with two others -- one airline in North America and another based in Asia.

The seats were approved by the FAA last month, according to an FAA spokesperson, but the FAA will later have to sign off on how each carrier incorporates them into its cabin configurations.

The company's original idea was to create a "side-slip" seat that allows the aisle seat to slide over the middle seat during boarding to provide more room and speed up the process.

According to Molon Labe, the minimum aisle regulation width is 20 inches, but the "side-slip" design opens the aisle width to 42 inches while passengers load and unload the plane. The "side-slip" is an optional add-on to the S1 design.

Molon Labe is also developing other seat designs that will have a wider middle seat and be better equipped for longer flights.

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Airplanes may be getting a middle seat upgrade


'Smart' diapers: great idea or helicopter parenting from infancy? 

iStock(NEW YORK) -- Are smart diapers a smart idea?

Pampers announced last week the upcoming release of Lumi, a system that will "track just about everything," including diaper changing needs, according to the company website.

The "smart diapers," as they've been dubbed, also track sleep and feeding. "With our all-in-one system, you can monitor your baby’s unique patterns and see emerging routines," the company said.

With a sensor that attaches to the baby's diaper, coupled with an app and video monitoring system, parents can track baby 24-7. The Lumi system is will be available in the fall and Pampers has not yet released the price.

The company told Good Morning America the product was created by the Start Up Pampers team after "research with thousands of parents revealed three clear unmet needs." Pampers outlined those needs as: Parents want to know their baby is comfortable and safe; babies thrive in a routine, but routines are tough to establish and change often; and parents seek a deep understanding about their baby’s unique mental and physical development journey.

"While there are many tools and solutions to address some of these problems, none of the existing products on the market address all three together in a frictionless way," Pampers said in an email.

But is virtually tracking our infants' bowel movements taking helicopter parenting to the next level?

"Having cared for many babies as a pediatrician I know one thing: parents know when something is wrong with their babies," said say Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez, a pediatrician and a Stanford media fellow. "This goes from their babies' diaper being wet to their baby being hungry, sleepy or sick. Because of this I don't believe they need smart sensors or apps to tell them something they already know from knowing their baby, and can easily confirm by checking."

Too much information can also lead to increased anxiety in new parents, she said.

"I'm also concerned this will give them one more thing to track and worry about and may even disrupt the little bit of precious rest they are able to get in those first few months of life," she told GMA. "This type of tracking may specifically lead parents to worry about completely normal daily variations in their babies' patterns, and while it may help them spot things like dehydration and constipation, I assure parents these are things they will spot without the sensors and apps by knowing their baby, working with their pediatrician and learning the signs."

Infant tracking monitors have come under criticism in the past. In August 2018, Good Morning America reported on a study on the Owlet Smart Sock 2 and the Baby Vida, two smartphone-integrated consumer baby monitors that purport to measure a baby's vital signs. The Owlet Smart Sock 2 performed "fairly well" in terms of pulse oximetry with some inconsistencies based on a hospital-grade monitor.

As for the Baby Vida, the device failed to accurately read heart rate and oxygen saturation. In many instances, the monitor would read that infants' heart rates were abnormally low when they were completely normal.

Bottom line? According to Bracho-Sanchez, "Save the money, trust your baby will let you know when they're wet or uncomfortable and don't underestimate your knowledge as your baby's mom or dad."

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3 young brothers on how they created a handcrafted candle company to pay for toys and help the homeless

iStock(NEW YORK) -- Three incredible young brothers-turned-entrepreneurs have created a successful candle company that sheds light on a bigger issue and gives back to the homeless community.

Collin, 13, Ryan, 11, and Austin, 8, Gill started Frères Branchiaux, which is French for Gill Brothers, when their parents lit a flame under them to earn their own money to pay for their toys.

Patrick and Celena Gill told their boys they had two choices: start a business or get a job.

That sparked the initial idea and the boys have managed their candle-making shop out of their Indian Head, Maryland, home for nearly two years.

"Me and my brothers asked my mom, 'What's your favorite thing to buy?' At first she said bath bombs, which are kind of a longer process, so we did candles, which was easier," Collin said on "GMA."

Ryan, 11, who his brother Collin calls the "scent-ologist" of the group, shared the secret behind his creative candle-making process.

"I usually pick the most scents I like and then I'll mix them together and ask my family members if they like it or not and then we'll make it into a candle," Ryan said.

The youngest brother, Austin, said it's "awesome" working with his brothers, but the biggest perk is having additional funds for things he enjoys.

"I like to buy my own toys," he said.

Nearly 30 local stores carry the brothers' candles. They also have a pending contract with Macy's.

"It was just like a side thing because they wanted more money for NERF guns and PS4 games," Celena Gill said. "And I was like, 'No, get a job or start a business.' They surprised me when they started a business and they started selling at their baseball and football games and they've moved on to a vending truck."

Frères Branchiaux donates a percentage of the proceeds -- about $500 a month -- to help the homeless in the Washington, D.C., area.

"My brother Ryan has a big heart," Collin said. "He likes to help homeless people out -- in D.C. there is a lot of homelessness -- so every time we would stop by and see a homeless person he would ask my mom to give them money."

"I was always about helping others," Ryan added. "Really helping people that are the most in need."

To date the boys have blended 400 candles in 23 different scents. The candles are available for sale on the Feres Branchiaux website and retail for $18 - $28 per candle.

Their dad explained that as a parent it's important to be there and guide them to help harness their energy and ideas.

"You have to keep an open mind. You want to be able to foster anything that they're doing because they might kind of flow to other things," Patrick Gill said. "You want to help them focus on what it is they really like."

Their mom said as a family they regularly give back to their community and are making strides to bring the boys' business full circle.

"We have a big community and we also want to do job creation," she said. "Right now we're working with one of the organizations to hire some of their clients transitioning from homelessness."

Next up is expanding to a bigger facility or "a candle truck."

"It's kind of like a food truck but instead of food it's candles," Collin said. "We're also looking to get a facility to make our candles out of."

Their mom said the family has set up a GoFundMe campaign for the candle truck which will double as a skills training center.

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4 sisters make and sell bracelets so parents can adopt a baby

iStock(BROOKHAVEN, Miss.) -- Four little girls with big hearts are raising money in hopes of paying for the adoption of their fifth sibling.

Susanna, 11; Mary Anson, 11; Eleanor, 7; and Evelyn Tate, 4; have earned $1,200 from their bracelet crafting business adorably titled, Bracelets for a Baby. The sisters came up with the idea after learning their mom and dad always wanted to adopt.

"My husband and I have been praying about it for about a year and just started casually mentioning to the girls and they got so excited," mom Sidney Tate of Brookhaven, Mississippi, told Good Morning America.

"They wanted [us to adopt] right now. My husband told them, 'I'll make you a deal. The initial payment is $4,000 to start the adoption and you girls can help us get that together.'"

Sidney said her husband, Leighton, was trying to appease their daughters' eagerness and had no idea their little project would actually take off.

"When it first began they brought their little box to church with us and everyone just started buying them," Sidney said, adding that her girls have moved their business in front of her salon, selling bracelets lemonade stand-style.

Susanna, Mary Anson, Eleanor and Evelyn have priced their bracelets at $4 a piece. Anklets are $3 and beaded anklets or bracelets are $8. Customers can choose up to three colors.

As the Tates proceed farther along in the adoption process, Bracelets for a Baby has become a family affair, with grandma and aunts assisting in production.

"Of course I jumped [in]," Allison Hudson, the girls' aunt told GMA. "It really shows how big of hearts they have."

Dad Leighton Tate said he admires his daughters' selflessness in wanting to contribute.

"I couldn't be more proud of them," he told GMA.

Mary Anson Tate, 11, is looking forward to someday telling her sibling that she played a part in bringing them home.

"I am so excited to get to tell our new baby that we got to help raise money by making bracelets to adopt him or her!" she said.

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New York City could become latest to punish cashless businesses

agrobacter/iStock(NEW YORK) -- New York could become the latest city to punish businesses that refuse to accept cash.

New York's City council will vote on a bill Tuesday that would prohibit most shops and restaurants from refusing to accept payments in cash amid concerns that cashless policies could discriminate against lower-income patrons or those without bank accounts.

The council's Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing voted to approve the bill on Monday. Committee chair Rafael Espinal, a co-sponsor of the bill, said cashless polices disproportionately impact unbanked New Yorkers who are much more likely to rely on payday loans and check cashing facilities.

"I'm happy that we can draw attention to some of the unintended consequences of new cashless technologies and how they impact marginalized populations," Espinal said at a hearing on Monday. "When attitudes toward cash equate it with being dirty, antiquated, or unsophisticated, we risk stigmatizing the communities who rely on it.”

About 12% of New Yorkers in 2013 did not have bank accounts, Espinal said, highlighting domestic violence survivors who don't wish to be traced and undocumented immigrants as some of those who may face significant challenges when opening bank accounts.

In 2017, about 8.4 million U.S. households were unbanked and an additional 24 million were considered under-banked, meaning they had access to a checking or savings account, but relied on high-cost alternative banking services like pawn shops, payday loans and rent-to-own stores, according to the FDIC.

"We want to make sure that people who have no other form of legal tender can fully make use of it," Espinal said. "If not, we risk segregating customers and perpetuating the divide between the haves and have nots."

The bill, introduced by New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres, also prohibits businesses from charging cash-paying consumers a higher price than cashless consumers.

If signed into law as it stands, stores and restaurants would be fined $1,000, per violation, for refusing to accept cash under the legislation.

Retailers would be permitted to refuse payments in bills larger than $20 and membership-based establishments -- such as gyms or workout studios that keep member credit cards on file -- would be excluded from the ban.

New York is among more than a dozen major U.S. cities mulling a ban on cashless polices. Philadelphia and San Francisco signed off on pro-greenback legislation earlier this year in an effort to stymie the so-called war on cash; Chicago and Washington, D.C., are considering similar bans.

Massachusetts and New Jersey bans cash-free practices statewide.

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What consumers are entitled to in the $700 million Equifax settlement over the 2017 data breach

Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Credit reporting agency Equifax will likely pay out a $700 million settlement over the 2017 data breach that exposed the social security numbers of an estimated 147 million people, according to federal officials.

A proposed settlement would involve the company providing up to $425 million in monetary relief to consumers and a civil money penalty of $100 million, along with other amounts of relief, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission announced in a joint press release on Monday. The settlement still needs to be approved by the U.S. District Court in Atlanta, according to the statement.

The company has also agreed to pay $175 million to 48 states as well as the district of Columbia and Puerto Rico, the FTC tweeted.

FTC Chairman Joe Simons accused Equifax of failing to take "basic steps" to prevent the breach, of "deceiving consumers" about the strength of its data security program and of "engaging in acts and practices that caused additional harm or risk to consumers, the release states. The settlement would require Equifax to take steps to improve its data security going forward.

"The incident at Equifax underscores the evolving cyber security threats confronting both private and government computer systems and actions they must take to shield the personal information of consumers," said CFPB Director Kathleen L. Kraninger. "Too much is at stake for the financial security of the American people to make these protections anything less than a top priority."

Here's what you need to know about the data breach and settlement:

Sensitive personal information was exposed

The Atlanta-based agency announced in September 2017 that the personal information of about 147 million consumers, including names, addresses, social security numbers and dates of birth, were exposed in a data breach.

The information also included consumers' financial profiles, which had information such as how much they owe on their homes and whether they had court judgments against them.

The company announced at the time that "criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files."

Consumers can claim up to $20,000 each for relief

A $425 million consumer fund will be used to provide reimbursements to affected consumers for time and money they spent related to the breach.

Consumers will be able to claim up to $20,000 each, according to the release.

This will include $25 an hour for up to 20 hours for time spent protecting personal information or addressing identity theft after the breach.

Consumers can also be reimbursed for up to 25% of the amount paid to Equifax for credit or identity monitoring subscription products between Sept. 7, 2016 and Sept. 7 2017.

Any unreimbursed costs, expenses, losses or charges incurred as a result of identity theft and miscellaneous expenses associated with the breach, such as notary, fax, postage, mileage and telephone charges can also be claimed.

In addition, all affected consumers are eligible to receive at least 10 years of free credit-monitoring and at least seven years of free identity-restoration services.

Starting Dec. 31, and extending seven years, all U.S. consumers may request up to six free copies of their Equifax credit report during any 12-month period as well. The free copies will be provided to requesting consumers in addition to any free reports to which they are entitled under federal law.

Consumers who decide not to enroll in the free credit monitoring available through the settlement may seek up to $125 as a reimbursement for the cost of a credit-monitoring product of their choice.

How to file a claim

A settlement administrator will manage the claims process.

Consumers must submit a claim to receive the free credit monitoring or cash reimbursements online or by mail after the court approves the settlement.

Deadlines for filing the claims will also be included on the website.

Additional information about the settlement and how to find out whether you are eligible for relief can be found here.

How to know if you're affected

After the breach was announced, Equifax mailed notices to people whose credit card numbers or dispute documents with personal identifying information were impacted.

At the time, consumers were also able to enter their personal information into a database to determine whether they were affected, but that function appears to have since been disabled.

The agency also recommended that people closely monitor their financial accounts and credit scores for unauthorized activity.

Equifax taking steps to fix the issues

In a statement, Equifax CEO Mark Begor described the settlement as a "positive step" for both U.S. consumers and the company as it moves forward from the breach. Equifax plans to "focus" on its investments in technology and security, Begor said.

"The consumer fund of up to $425 million that we are announcing today reinforces our commitment to putting consumers first and safeguarding their data -- and reflects the seriousness with which we take this matter," Begor said. "We have been committed to resolving this issue for consumers and have the financial capacity to manage the settlement while continuing our $1.25 billion EFX2020 technology and security investment program. We are focused on the future of Equifax and returning to market leadership and growth."

Equifax has denied any wrongdoing, and no judgement or finding of wrongdoing has been made, according to a statement on the settlement website.

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For $2,500 a month travelers get unlimited luxury hotel stays with new service

yesfoto/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Think of it as Rent the Runway, but for luxury hotel stays.

Inspirato has just launched what's being billed as the world's first luxury travel subscription service. For $2,500 per month, members of Inspirato Pass get access to more than 60,000 worldwide luxury vacation homes, hotels, resorts and experiences including cruises, safaris and sporting events, with no nightly rates, taxes, or fees.

To book, passholders visit the Inspirato Pass website and browse available trips in more than 150 locations throughout the U.S., Mexico, Central and South America, Europe and Asia. Reserve any available trip and book the next reservation upon check out. The list of available trips refreshes daily, with a continual supply of new choices, the company said.

A check by "Good Morning America" showed 72,000 trips available with no filters applied to destination or check-in date. We checked a peak travel week -- Christmas 2019 week -- and found more than 1,400 trips, some in popular destinations like New York City and Paris as well as warm-weather destinations like Miami and Mexico. With peak travel dates commanding the highest prices of the year, the subscription service could potentially benefit a traveler even if they don't use the pass each month.

The properties offered are true four-and-five star hotels. Even with the peak travel dates set as filters, there were plenty of options ranging from two to seven nights over the holiday week. But the service is brand new, and it's unclear how many people will be allowed to join. If it takes off, it's possible it will be harder to secure accommodations in the most desirable destinations over popular travel times.

Like a Rent the Runway subscription, it's best not to go in with a particular dress -- or in this case, hotel -- in mind, but rather shop by style. On Inspirato, there are four "styles" to choose from: Beach, Mountain, Lifestyle, Metropolitan.

Only one person in the traveling party needs to be a pass holder and can have as many people the property indicates it can accommodate.

Pass holders need to check out of one property before reserving another and for that reason, it would be difficult to plan back-to-back trips. Even if a traveler planned to stay in the same destination, there's no guarantee a property nearby would be available. If airfare is required to get to the next destination, some degree of a planning period, a presumably downtime, would be required.

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Suspension of flights 'has nothing to do with Cairo airport': British Airways official

studioEAST/Getty Images(LONDON) -- British Airways' abrupt decision to suspend flights to Cairo for seven days is not related to security concerns at the Cairo airport, an official at the airline told ABC News on Sunday.

"We have no concerns over security at Cairo Airport. The decision is purely related to the airlines," said Sherif Barsoum, British Airways' regional director. "The British team that inspected the airport last week found nothing alarming; it was a positive visit."

The British government issued a travel warning for Egypt on Saturday citing a “heightened risk of terrorism against aviation." British Airways and German carrier Lufthansa suspended flights to Cairo as a security "precaution." British Airways flights were suspended for seven days, while Lufthansa flights were scheduled to resume on Sunday.

"There’s a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation," the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said in a statement on Saturday. "Additional security measures are in place for flights departing from Egypt to the UK. You should co-operate fully with security officials at airports."

During a meeting with British Ambassador to Cairo Geoffrey Adams on Sunday, Egyptian aviation minister Younes El Masry said he was "dismayed by the unilateral decision to suspend flights," insisting that Egypt should have been informed beforehand.

"The British Ambassador apologized to the Minister of Aviation for not informing Egyptian authorities before the decision was issued, stressing that the decision is not related to security measures at Egyptian airports," a ministry statement read.

The British Foreign Office also warned on Friday against "all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai, due to continuing criminal activity and terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in deaths."

The Governorate of North Sinai is located in the eastern part of Egypt.

In addition, officials advised Britons against "all but essential travel to the Governorate of South Sinai, except the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier, which includes the airport and the areas of Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq," by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh, and "to the area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions, excluding the coastal areas between the Nile Delta and Marsa Matruh."

In 2015, a Russian plane bound for St. Petersburg departing from Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport crashed in a mountainous region of Egypt, killing all 224 people on board. Following the crash, two airlines -- Lufthansa and Air France -- announced they were avoiding the airspace over the Sinai Peninsula.

In a statement, the British Foreign Office said that approximately 415,000 Britons visited Egypt in 2018, and noted that most visits are trouble-free.

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50 years after the moon landing: How close is space travel, really? 

iStock(NEW YORK) -- When Americans first walked on the moon 50 years ago, the idea of space travel crystallized into a graspable future. Bolstered by a geeky shift in pop culture that launched and relaunched franchises such as Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek, Americans saw intergalactic storylines that never touched Earth. Life in space seemed so close.

Yet the last time Americans went to the moon was in 1972, and with the closure of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)'s space shuttle program in 2011, the U.S. government currently doesn't have the ability to fly astronauts anywhere.

"There's a couple young people who watched the lunar lander 50 years ago and thought: 'By 1980 we'll have bases on the moon and by 2000 we’ll be on Mars,'" Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) President Eric Stallmer told ABC News. "And there's a bunch of entrepreneurs who are thinking, 'Why can’t we do that?'"

It's exactly that frustration -- that we've not further explored space -- that could lead to the closest we'll get to space tourism yet, possibly by the end of this year.

Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin plan to take passengers to suborbital space -- where the Earth's atmosphere meets outer space -- which is 62 miles (100 kilometers) above sea level.

Impatient with the government, space exploration has shifted into the hands of private companies in the last five decades, founded by an elite trio of titans in other industries, the geek fantasy Billionaire Boys Club of Branson, Bezos and Elon Musk's SpaceX.

"There is a frustration among space barons and the space industry in general that there isn't a base on the moon, that we haven't been to Mars, we haven't done any of the great things after Apollo," Christian Davenport, author of "The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos," told ABC News.

The closest the average person (with means) is to becoming an astronaut would be to fly to the edge of space with Virgin Galactic, which expects to start these trips in as soon as a few months.

Branson's company completed two manned flights to the space this past year. The trip goes to what's considered suborbital space or the edge of space to experience about four minutes of weightlessness and look down at earth from the edge of its atmosphere.

Despite the $250,000 price tag for the flights, Virgin Galactic's wait list is real: the company said that 600 future astronauts have paid $80 million in deposits.

Bezos' Blue Origin is next on track to get flights into suborbital space. He plans on sending humans into space in 2019 on New Shepard — a suborbital vehicle designed for space tourism — which uses liquid hydrogen."

"We’re going to be flying humans in New Shepherd this year," Bezos said in May.

Bezos openly talks about his admiration for Gerard K. O'Neill, a space activist who was a big booster for space colonies.

"In the short term, what he's trying to do in his lifetime is to make space more affordable, more accessible, to fly much more frequently," Davenport said. "Richard wants to do the same thing at Virgin Galactic and Elon wants to do the same thing at SpaceX and that's the connective tissue that binds all of them together. They want more people going to space, they want more vehicles going to space with more regularity."

"In a good year you might fly rockets a couple times a month as opposed to multiple times a week and that's what they're aiming for," Davenport said. As space trips become more frequent and commonplace, "you get better, your operations become more efficient, your costs go down, and that's what they're ultimately trying to do."

Musk's goal in founding SpaceX was to go to Mars and "borne out of the frustration that NASA hadn't been there at the time Elon was founding SpaceX. He wanted to speed that up," Davenport said. SpaceX has been successfully launching reusable rockets for years, and taking cargo to the International Space Station.

Still the Apollo 11 anniversary has highlighted the lofty goals of all potential players pushing into space travel.

"This year, and going into next year, will be the most exciting time in the space industry since the Apollo era," Stallmer said. "They’re really close to getting the general public and private astronauts."

But that horizon may be further out than the industry wants.

Since 2011, American astronauts travel to the International Space Station (ISS) on Russian rockets, at a cost of about $87 million per seat, in effect funding the Russian space program, said CSF's Stallmer.

Boeing and SpaceX are currently in a race to start flying NASA astronauts to the ISS by year's end, a goal both companies will mostly likely have to delay. Both have suffered setbacks. In April a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule exploded. Boeing's Starliner experienced an engine failure in June 2018, causing delays for the aerospace giant.

“I don’t think it’s impossible but it’s getting increasingly difficult” for a SpaceX flight with astronauts this year," SpaceX vice president Hans Koenigsmann, told reporters on Monday.

Even the White House has weighed in, in a quest to get two astronauts -- a man and a woman -- on the moon by 2028. The Trump Administration has moved up that goal to 2024.

But as even billionaires and presidents have found out over the past 20 years, space is hard.

"Space is not an easy thing," Stallmer said. "It’s exciting, it attracts the imagination. It’s this frontier that we just long to be a part of."

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