The FAA's culture of prescriptive rules and obsession with passenger safety at all costs is antithetical to the Office of Commercial Space Transportation's congressionally mandated role of encouraging, facilitating, and supporting a nascent U.S. commercial spaceflight industry.
A proposal by NTSB that would give the agency a greater role in investigating failures of commercial launches is facing strong opposition from both the industry and the FAA.
SpaceX performed a static-fire test of a Starship vehicle Oct. 21 as debate continues about an environmental assessment of the company’s proposed launch operations in Texas.
The Federal Aviation Administration on Aug. 27 released its final environmental assessment that found “no significant impact” for Virgin Orbit to conduct launches from Guam.
The White House released a first look at its budget proposal for fiscal year 2022 that includes an increase in funding for NASA, particularly Earth science and space technology programs.
Private spaceflight companies can help to lead the way in advancing U.S. national security and exploration goals, provided they don’t get their heads stuck above the clouds and undermine the gains they’ve brought to the industry.
Steve Blank’s op-ed of Feb. 5, “The FAA and SpaceX,” demands an informed rebuttal. It lacks grounding in the history and nature of private space activity regulation and he erroneously conflates that mission with the FAA's primary task of regulating the safest transportation system in human history.
At first glance the FAA/SpaceX dust-up over Starship might look like a rich entrepreneur breaking the rules versus a federal agency trying to keep the public safe. It's actually an example of a government organization — the FAA — unable to distinguish between innovation and execution.
ULA, and its parent companies Boeing and Lockheed Martin, stand virtually alone in their support of the FAA’s rules revision. Commercial launch players, meanwhile, continue to challenge the agency to make further changes.
Fifty years ago this summer, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the first steps on the moon. Their “giant leap for mankind” was a venture that could only be accomplished with the might and funding of the U.S. government.
The FAA is extending a comment period on an overhaul of commercial launch regulations as some in industry seek more discussions with the agency on the proposed revisions.
Aircraft tracking company Aireon initiated service with its space-based sensor network April 2, starting global monitoring of aircraft location and velocity on a near real-time basis.
The two pilots who flew SpaceShipTwo to the edge of space in December received commercial astronaut wings last week, joining an elite group that won’t necessarily become much larger even with the anticipated growth of commercial spaceflight.
While some question whether Virgin Galactic’s latest SpaceShipTwo test flight actually went into space, a number of government officials and industry organizations have few doubts that it did.
FAA officials said Oct. 31 that they’re on schedule to release a draft rule reforming commercial launch regulations, although some in industry are concerned that the work is going too quickly.
The commercial spaceflight industry expects to learn more this week on the status of regulatory reform efforts as well as progress on improving the integration of launches into the national airspace system.
With Congress set to approve a Federal Aviation Administration bill with some commercial space provisions, those in the industry are hoping for action on other bills before the end of this year.
Virgin Orbit has received a license from the Federal Aviation Administration for the first launch of its LauncherOne vehicle, which the company hopes to perform later this summer.
As the commercial launch industry seeks regulatory reforms to streamline the licensing process, other are raising concerns about a schedule that calls for those changes to be completed next year.