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FAA, NASA To Share Commercial Space Travel Regulation Duties

The Federal Aviation Administration and NASA will work together on forming criteria for commercial space travel of both government and non-government astronauts, the agencies announced Monday.

Under a signed agreement, NASA will handle all issues regarding crew safety and mission assurance and the FAA will focus on public safety by issuing licenses to commercial providers.

Standards will cover travel to and from the International Space Station, the agencies said.

NASA is encouraging private sector innovation to re-establish U.S.-crewed access to low-Earth orbit and in-sourcing of work to American companies, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in the release.

“The Obama administration recognizes the scientific, technological and economic benefits of maintaining the United States’ leadership in space travel and exploration,” said FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta.

The FAA’s office of commercial space transportation has authorized 207 successful launches to date, including two non-orbital commercial human space flights in 2004 and a recent launch of an unmanned commercial spacecraft to the ISS.

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