The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA-AST) fared well in a spending bill that cleared the House Appropriations Committee June 19.
The 2013 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Funding Bill fully funded FAA-AST’s $16.7 million request for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 and included report language encouraging the FAA to submit a reprogramming request if AST — which regulates U.S. commercial launch activities — needs more money to prevent a backlog of permit and license applications.
“The commercial space transportation industry is nearly certain to increase its activities providing orbital and suborbital services to serve commercial, scientific, and government purposes,” the committee wrote in a report accompanying the spending bill. “Of particular importance are orbital flights to support the operation of the International Space Station. This increase in commercial space activity will require the FAA to provide a significantly greater number of permits and licenses. The Committee wishes to ensure that the FAA has the ability to provide these permits and licenses effectively and efficiently so that the U.S. can emerge as the world leader in space transport. The Committee will encourage a reprogramming of funds to the Office of Commercial Space Transportation above the levels provided, if necessary to keep pace with this growing industry.”