Tue, Nov 03, 2009
Efforts Will Fall Under Office Of Commercial Space
The Space Shuttle's
fast-approaching retirement is opening up new opportunities for
commercial space transportation, and Embry-Riddle is making strides
to support the industry's growth under a new collaboration with the
FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation.
An agreement with the agency identifies five space
transportation topics that can be supported by Embry-Riddle faculty
and student researchers:
- Special Activity Airspace Standards: Developing airspace design
and risk determination standards for Special Activity Airspace
during nominal and non-nominal space flight operations.
- Critical Spaceport Infrastructure Needs: Assessing
infrastructure requirements for commercial human spaceflight
operations to mitigate safety, schedule, and program risks.
- Space Launch Operations Issues and Anomalies: Quantitative and
qualitative analyses to gain a better understanding of credible
failure modes for launch systems.
- Uncertainty Risk Study: Developing a mathematical method for
comparing space transportation risk factors.
- Spaceport Capacity Study: Identifying capacity "breaking
points" for specific spaceports and their surrounding airspace for
current and future air/space traffic densities.
Under the agreement, Embry-Riddle
and the FAA will initially support faculty and student work on at
least two of the research topics, allowing presentations on their
progress during an upcoming FAA Office of Commercial Space
Transportation conference. Embry-Riddle is also exploring ways to
integrate space transportation information and scenarios into its
air traffic management training and curriculum and to educate
space-literate air traffic leaders who can help integrate aviation
and space transportation operations.
"This effort is a timely one, now that a blue-ribbon panel has
finalized its report to the White House on the future of U.S. space
exploration," said Christina Frederick-Recascino, Embry-Riddle's
vice president for research. "Pointing to similarities with the
early days of the aviation industry, the panel says it is now
appropriate for NASA to start turning to the commercial sector for
transporting crew to the International Space Station."
The agreement is an outgrowth of recent meetings between
officials from Embry-Riddle and the FAA Office of Commercial Space
Transportation. The FAA, which already regulates commercial rocket
launches and multiple spaceports nationwide, is watching closely as
several U.S. companies make progress on crew-carrying rockets and
reusable space planes. These vehicles will present unique
challenges for the FAA with their high-speed flight through the
national airspace system during their ascent and descent from
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