Recently the Billionaire Space Race culminated with both Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, doing what I can tell without any dispute, "going up" and "coming down". The claim that either of them actually reached space however is hotly debated, with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson telling (paraphrased from this article)
First of all, it was suborbital...If you don't go fast enough to reach orbit you will fall and return to Earth...It's okay if you want to call it 'space,' just because average humans haven't gotten there before and it's a first for you. That's why it takes eight minutes to get into orbit and three days to reach the moon...So I don't see it as 'oh, let's go into space'. No. What you are going to have is a nice view of the Earth
According to CNN, Neil deGrasse Tyson says that neither Richard Branson nor Jeff Bezos has actually been put into orbit.
Of course, we got Elon Musk chiming in and trolling Bezos (I can't find the original one I saw so I am not sure if this is the real one).
So where exactly does the Space start according to Governments and governmental agencies? Specifically speaking is there any legal definition of Outer Space in law.
[Edit I am citing NdT and Elon to only show there is a dispute/debate. Their opinion need not be legally considered]
At the Legal Sub-committee meeting of 2018 UN COPUOS, United Nations the Committee for the Peaceful Use of Outer Space, some member states considered that a definition of where air space ends and outer space begins, was important because of space tourism and other activities extending to space. However, others including the US under Bush Administration pointed out that we have done quite well without such definitions and this has caused no problems so far.
Historically, it’s been difficult to pin that point at a particular altitude. In the 1900s, Hungarian physicist Theodore von Kármán determined the boundary to be around 50 miles up, or roughly 80 kilometers above sea level. Today, though, the Kármán line is set at what NOAA calls “an imaginary boundary” that’s 62 miles up, or roughly a hundred kilometers above sea level.
The Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), which keeps track of standards and records in astronautics and aeronautics, also defines space as beginning a hundred kilometers up. It is, after all, a nice round number.
But the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Air Force, NOAA, and NASA generally use 50 miles (80 kilometers) as the boundary, with the Air Force granting astronaut wings to flyers who go higher than this mark. At the same time, NASA Mission Control places the line at 76 miles (122 kilometers), because that is “the point at which atmospheric drag becomes noticeable,” Bhavya Lal and Emily Nightingale of the Science and Technology Policy Institute write in a 2014 review article.