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.
A key senator says he’s keeping an open mind regarding who in the federal government should have responsibility for the oversight of “non-traditional” commercial space activities.
Senate appropriators offered a budget increase to the Federal Aviation Administration office that licenses commercial launches, while also calling on the office to streamline its regulatory processes.
Aireon raised $69 million from a British partner, enabling the aircraft-tracking startup to begin making hosting payments to Iridium Communications.
A reauthorization bill for the FAA passed by the House April 27 includes several provisions intended to support its commercial spaceflight activities, including a major increase in authorized spending levels.