Today Congressman Jim Bridenstine led 17 bipartisan colleagues in sending a letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development supporting the budget request of $19.8 million for the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA/AST).

Bridenstine said, “The commercial space industry holds enormous potential as a tool of economic growth and an economical provider of services. It is a hotbed of innovation and critical to maintaining American preeminence in space. The job of FAA/AST is essential to facilitating the growth of this industry.”

FAA/AST is charged with both regulating and facilitating the commercial space industry, through activities such as pre-application consultations, safety approvals, environmental reviews, payload reviews, and issuing experimental permits, launch site licenses, and launch and reentry licenses. Over the past decade, commercial space activity has greatly expanded while resources and staffing for this office have remained essentially flat. Many in the commercial space industry feel the added strain from FAA/AST’s increased workload is detrimental to their businesses.

With the November 2015 passage of the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, commercial space activity is expected to increase even further. If this increase is to materialize, it is necessary for FAA/AST to have adequate resources.