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Wed, Jun 13, 2018

U.S. Senate Proposed Funding Increase For FAA Commercial Space Office

Appropriators Say Office Should Streamline The Regulatory Process

A bill reported out of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee calls for a $2.4 million increase for the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation. The nearly $25 million budget for the AST is $3.4 million more than requested by the Trump administration, and slightly higher than the amount approved by the House Appropriations Committee in May.

In a report accompanying the request, the committee said that the AST needs to become more efficient in dealing with the increasing number of commercial space activity rather than just hiring additional people to work within the existing licensing process, according to Space News.

“While the Committee anticipates a reasonable expansion of the workforce at the Office of Commercial Space Transportation [AST] to meet increasing volume of license applications,” the report states, “it is essential that AST significantly streamline its licensing approach and regulations so that industry growth doesn’t necessitate one-for-one bureaucratic growth.”

The FAA is working on reforms to its process of licensing launch operations as called for in President Trump's Space Policy Directive 2, which he signed May 24. The changes under consideration include a single license for a vehicle's launch or reentry regardless of location, and adding more flexible "performance-based criteria" for licensing.

The policy calls on the U.S. Department of Transportation to publish an NPRM for the changes not later than February 1, 2019.

(Image from file)

FMI: Original report

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