ALPA Raises Space Ops Concerns

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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.”

Comments (6)

ALPA has a point. I'd be worried too if I saw a 50-ton sex toy closing on me at Mach 5.

Posted by: kim hunter | June 26, 2018 7:31 PM    Report this comment

Good points. However, the chair of the sub-committee is "Privatization" (PFC) Shuster. That's like having the monkey guarding the bananas.

Posted by: Jim Holdeman | June 27, 2018 10:20 AM    Report this comment

Blue Origin says the regulatory environment is "cumbersome". Really?! Welcome to our world, Blue Origin.

Posted by: John McNamee | June 27, 2018 10:32 AM    Report this comment

If space ops are put under FAA control, they wil bury it in bureacracy and nothing will advance, just like GA!

Posted by: matthew wagner | June 27, 2018 11:53 AM    Report this comment

Giving Shuster something to do?

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | June 27, 2018 6:51 PM    Report this comment

ALPA should leave space ops to those that know it well, namely NASA and the Air force. Blue Origin has a pretty good handle on both the tech and the ops. Agencies need to work with and learn from the private sector as well as develop regs to facilitate new technologies and promote safety.

Posted by: carl ziegler | June 29, 2018 9:08 PM    Report this comment

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