Oct. 19, 2020

The FAA has issued a final rule modernizing and streamlining the regulation and licensing of commercial space transportation.
Informed by an Aviation Rulemaking Committee that included NBAA and other leading aviation advocates, the FAA’s Streamlined Launch and Reentry Licensing Final Rule consolidates four regulatory parts and applies a single set of licensing and safety regulations to all types of commercial space vehicle operations.

The final rule also provides flexibility for operators to meet safety requirements and improves efficiency by encouraging launch and reentry operators to suggest and implement design and operational solutions to meet the regulatory standards, said a DOT statement.

“This historic, comprehensive update to commercial space launch and reentry licensing requirements facilitates greater growth in this industry and helps America to maintain our #1 position in the world,” noted DOT Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Read the DOT’s announcement.

The Streamlined Launch and Reentry Licensing Requirements Final Rule, which was published Sept. 30, will become effective Dec. 29. FAA is seeking public comment on three associated Advisory Circulars until Oct. 30.

Streamlined Launch and Reentry Licensing Requirements Final Rule (PDF)

“The FAA’s final rule facilitates the expansion of an innovative and creative sector of the aerospace industry by providing guidance and standards for the establishment of commercial spaceports and simplifying the licensing process of launches and reentries,” said Heidi Williams, NBAA’s director of air traffic services and infrastructure.

“There is still plenty of work to be done, and we look forward to collaborating with our industry partners and the FAA to ensure the U.S. remains the leader in space commerce,” Williams added.