ALPA Raises Space Ops Concerns
Congress needs to take action now to ensure that commercial space operations are safely integrated into the national airspace, ALPA president Tim Canoll told the U.S. House aviation subcommittee on Tuesday. The FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation must work with the industry to develop standards for communication, navigation and surveillance, Canoll said, and certify that space flights are compatible with aviation operations. Congress also needs to develop comprehensive regulations that ensure safety in space-vehicle design and flight-crew qualification, training and certification, he said. The committee members also heard from officials from Blue Origin, SpaceX and the United Launch Alliance.
Audrey Powers, deputy general counsel for Blue Origin, told the committee the existing regulatory environment is “cumbersome,” noting that her company must comply not only with FAA regulations but also U.S. Air Force requirements. “Blue Origin is eager to continue working with the National Space Council, the FAA, the USAF, as well as other industry operators to ensure that new rules and regulations promote safety above all, while also supporting the expansion of this new and varied set of commercial reusable systems,” Powers said. U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., chair of the subcommittee, noted that there are already 15 licensed space launches scheduled for this year, with more than a dozen in the pipeline for the second half of the year. “This is an exciting time of growth and innovation in the sector,” Shuster said. “It is important that our commercial space regulations keep pace.”