87th AMS Annual Meeting

Monday, 15 January 2007: 1:45 PM
The FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation: recent activities, regulations, and current events in the commercial space sector
210A (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
Karen Shelton-Mur, FAA Commercial Space Transportation, Washington, DC
The Commercial Space Launch Act of 1984, as amended (CSLA), authorizes The Secretary of Transportation to license a launch, a reentry, or the operation of a launch site carried out by a U.S. citizen or within the United States. The Act directs the Secretary to exercise this responsibility consistent with public health and safety, safety of property, and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, and to encourage, facilitate and promote commercial space launches by the private sector. AST, by delegation, carries out the CSLA for the Secretary.

Recent legislation, the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004(CSLAA), amended the CSLA to clarify that the FAA is responsible for the safety of passengers, requires informed consent, and establishes an experimental permitting regime.

For the last two decades, AST has been developing regulations, guidelines, and leading studies to regulate and promote commercial space transportation. New milestones within the commercial space industry have done more to capture the public's attention and create excitement for commercial space than the previous two decades combined. A recent surge in space competition designed after aviation competitions of the past (Orteig Prize) has helped spur space companies to design space vehicles by competing for prizes (10 million dollar Ansari X-Prize, X-Prize Cup, Centennial Challenge, etc.). These significant events combined with the passage of the CSLAA and a new U.S. space policy has helped the commercial space transportation arena move forward at a rapid pace. This presentation will give an overview of AST's recent activities involving commercial space transportation and highlight the most current events in commercial space activity.

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