A Federal Aviation Administration advisory committee has recommended that the FAA start discussions with the European Space Agency about commercial participation in an international lunar base concept promoted by the agency’s leader.
The U.S. Space Launch Competitiveness Act, which was signed into law by President Obama Nov. 25, is a victory for one industry sector that only recently returned to U.S. territory and another, fledgling sector that finally appears on the verge of becoming a reality.
The White House and members of U.S. Congress are in early discussions about how to give the FAA a greater role in monitoring the space environment and heading off collisions between commercial satellites, sources tell SpaceNews.
A bill passed by Congress Sept. 29 will extend by six months the current restriction on the Federal Aviation Administration’s ability to regulate the safety of people flying on commercial spacecraft, as House and Senate members reconcile bills that would provide for a longer extension.
A report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office Sept. 21 concluded that the Federal Aviation Administration has not provided enough information about the workload of its commercial space office to justify the $1.5 million in additional funding it requested for 2016.
As the Federal Aviation Administration reviews the recommendations of a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report on last year’s SpaceShipTwo accident, it is facing new scrutiny that its commercial space office, faced with a heavy workload, may have been under pressure to approve applications without sufficient review.
Orbital ATK is wrapping up the final report into last October’s Antares launch failure for delivery to the Federal Aviation Administration, but has not indicated when the report will be released to the public.
A Senate appropriations bill approved last week provides a modest increase in funding for the federal office that licenses commercial launches, but industry officials argue that the office requires more funding, particularly after the recent SpaceX launch failure.
The House of Representatives approved an amendment to an appropriations bill June 3 that gives the Federal Aviation Administration’s commercial space office part of a budget increase it requested to keep up with its growing workload.
The Senate Commerce Committee swiftly approved a commercial launch bill May 20 as the House of Representatives prepared to vote on a more expansive, and also more controversial, version of the bill later this week.
A House appropriations subcommittee approved a spending bill for the FAA that does not include an increase for the FAA’s space office, despite repeated concerns by the office’s leadership that it lacks the resources to keep pace with growing commercial launch activity.
Separate investigations into two high-profile commercial launch accidents six months ago are entering their final phases and will be completed in the next few months or, in some cases, weeks.