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Elaine Chao Unveils Final FAA Rule on Commercial Space Launch, Reentry Licensing Requirements

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Elaine Chao
Elaine Chao Secretary DOT

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Thursday announced the publication of a final rule from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that updates the licensing requirements for commercial space launches and reentry missions.

The new rule combines four regulatory parts to implement a single set of safety and licensing regulations for commercial spaceflight launch and reentry operations, FAA said Thursday.

The Streamlined Launch and Reentry Licensing Requirements Final Rule encourages operators to suggest design and operational platforms to comply with regulatory standards and provides them the flexibility to meet the safety requirements. The new rule will take effect 90 days after publication in the Federal Register.

The updated application processes under the new regulation allow early assessment when applicants incrementally submit parts of their license applications, permit applicants to seek a safety element approval with a license application and provide more flexibility when it comes to demonstrating high consequence event protection.

“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,” Chao said.

FAA will accept public comments through Nov. 16 on three advisory circulars: High Fidelity Flight Safety Analysis, High Consequence Protection and Computing Systems and Software.