FAA Proposes Rule To Streamline Commercial Space Operations

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Image: NASA

The FAA has proposed a new rule that aims to “streamline and increase flexibility” in federal commercial space transportation regulations. The FAA says the rule would “consolidate and revise” existing regulations along with defining safety requirements and how to get and maintain a vehicle operator license for commercial space travel. The rule (PDF) was developed from proposals by the Streamlined Launch and Re-entry Licensing Requirements Aviation Rulemaking Committee, which was formed by the FAA last year.

“Ingenuity and innovation have always fueled our nation’s success in space travel,” said FAA Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell. “This proposed rule ensures that a commercial space rocket is not tethered to a launch pad with unnecessary red tape.” Once published in the Federal Register, the rule will be open for public comment for 60 days.

According to the FAA, its Office of Commercial Space Transportation has currently licensed or permitted more than 370 launches, reentries and launch sites in the U.S. The agency also announced that 2018 was the “most productive” year for U.S. commercial space travel yet with 32 FAA-licensed launches, three re-entries and two new launch sites. The FAA is predicting up to 40 licensed commercial space transportation activities in the coming year.