FAA Proposes Revised Rules for Commercial Space Launches

The rule follows the National Space Council's 2018 "Space Policy Directive 2" that called on DOT to review and revise the department's commercial space launch and re-entry licensing regulations.

proposed rule from the Federal Aviation Administration would streamline federal commercial space transportation requirements for future launch, reentry, and launch-site providers while maintaining safety during launches and reentries, according to the agency, which said the rule follows the National Space Council's 2018 "Space Policy Directive 2" that called on DOT to review and revise the department's commercial space launch and re-entry licensing regulations.

It is a deregulatory action under President Donald J. Trump's Executive Order 13771, titled Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs and issued Jan. 30, 2017.

"These rules will maintain safety, simplify the licensing process, enable innovation, and reduce costs to help our country remain a leader in commercial space launches," said Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. According to DOT, the rule would provide a performance-based regulatory approach to commercial space transportation and would encourage potential and current launch site and reentry operators to suggest and implement design and operational solutions.

"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."

The rule advances proposals by the Streamlined Launch and Reentry Licensing Requirements Aviation Rulemaking Committee, which FAA formed one year ago. The agency expects as many as 40 FAA-licensed commercial space transportation activities will take place during the current fiscal year.

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