Changes at FAA
- AST split in several offices, including chief engineer’s offic
- Former astronaut Pamela Ann Melroy has been added as senior adviser for human spaceflight — flew on STS-92, 112 and 120 — previously serve as Deputy Program Manager for Space Exploration Initiatives at Lockheed Martin after leaving the astronaut corps
- reorganizing field offices
- adding a second position at Mojave, new positions at Wallops and JSC
- Planned tech center with 50 people at KSC will not happen
- Moritorium on regulations has been expanded to Oct. 1, 2015 — although FAA can propose rules if there is an accident
- VG will be flying “at some point in the near future”
- Is the safety community ready for this? No
- Parallels in Aviation safety — lessons learned through trial, error and accidents
- Safety history written in blood
- Space transportation began long ago — also done through trial, safety and accidents
focused on range safety at first — making sure no one on the ground got hurt, having flight termination system (i.e., bomb that would destroy the vehicle if it goes off course
- Once crewed launches began, the safety authority was split — NASA responsible for crew safety and Air Force handled range safety at Cape Canaveral
FAA AST and Commercial Spaceflight Issues
- First time that a single organization, FAA, will be responsible for crew and range safety
- NASA is concerned about FAA overseing crew safety on commercial vehicles
- With commercial crew, do you want to have flight termination system?
- Do you want flight termination system on reusable vehicles
- Aircraft — range safety (danger to people on the ground) was not serious concern during early avation days — not many aircraft, little chance of getting hurt — by the time ground safety became an issue, public was used to the risk
- will there be cross-pollination between rules for suborbital spacecraft and UAVs?
- FAA dealing with orbital debris rules
- FAA concerns over amateur rocketry — current rules allow for some rockets that are “breathtaking in their destuctive power”
Q: Where does National Transportation Safety Board fit into the regulatory environment?
Kelly: There is an on-going working group with NSTB and NASA on how to deal with future accidents. Extensive coordination between the groups.
Q. What about traffic management?
Kelly: Traffic management is a big issues. FAA has no authority to regulate orbital operations.
Q. Preparations for what happens after there is an accident?
Kelly: Some people in the industry think that commercial space will come to a halt if there is a fatal accident. He doesn’t believe this; it hasn’t happened before in human history. People have pressed on.
Need to be prepared for it. To write a good regulation, it takes three years. If there is an accident, there will be pressure from Congress to act quickly. Regulations written in a month are not very good ones.