FAA Meeting the Demand for Space Launch and Reentry Licenses

FAA Meeting the Demand for Space Launch and Reentry Licenses

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

WASHINGTON –As the surge in commercial space transportation operations continues, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) intends to establish a new aerospace rulemaking committee (SpARC) to identify ways to further improve how launch and reentry licenses are reviewed and approved without compromising public safety.

The committee will gather recommendations from industry and other stakeholders to help the FAA improve the Part 450 launch and reentry licensing requirements. This includes the issuance of new licenses, the renewal or modification of existing licenses, and conducting payload reviews. The committee will be formally created in the coming months.

“The SpARC input will help us reduce the burden on commercial space transportation applicants and licensees and enable the FAA to process applications and make safety determinations with greater expediency,” said Kelvin B. Coleman, the FAA’s Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation. “This is an opportunity to enhance Part 450 to better meet its objectives.”

The FAA is currently reaching out to the industry regarding Part 450 through the efforts of the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee which will discuss this issue at its April meeting. This work will inform the new SpARC.

By March 2026, all FAA-licensed launch and reentry operators must be in compliance with Part 450. The FAA anticipates full implementation of Part 450 will reduce the number of times an operator will need to come to the FAA seeking a license approval. The agency has made several tools available to help applicants understand that their submissions must clearly spell out how they have achieved compliance.

The FAA has hired more staff to process license applications and is providing a multitude of guidance to applicants through pre-application consultations, advisory circulars, and virtual tutorials and workshops. The FAA also is developing an electronic application portal to make the application submission process more efficient and improve its ability to identify, track, and quickly resolve issues.

In 2023, there was a record 124 FAA-licensed commercial space operations – triple the number of total operations in 2020. The number of licensed commercial space operations is expected to almost double again by 2026.

Official news published at https://www.faa.gov/newsroom/faa-meeting-demand-space-launch-and-reentry-licenses

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