FAA Commercial Space Office Would Get Boost Under Proposed Budget

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Federal Aviation Administration Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA AST) would receive a 6 percent boost under the Trump Administration’s proposed fiscal year 2021 budget.

However, the FAA’s overall spending on space would drop by 13.85 percent from $51.54 million to $44.4 million.

FAA AST’s budget would be boosted by from $26.04 million to $27.60, an increase of $1.56 million. The office licenses launches, reentries and spaceports.

The increase includes $685,000 “to increase staffing in order to ensure the protection of the public, property, and national security of the United States during commercial launch and reentry activities,” according to a budget document.

“This includes funding to speed the processing of licenses and approvals, streamline regulatory requirements, and keep pace with industry demands for products and services,” the document added.

FY 2020
($ Million)
Proposed FY 2021
($ Million)
Change
($ Million)
FAA AST$26.04$27.60$1.56
Space Integration$23.0011.00($12.00)
Center of Excellence$2.5$5.80$3.80
TOTALS:$51.54$44.40($7.14)

The proposed budget requests $11 million for continued development and testing of an operational Space Data Integrator (SDI). The system will automate FAA’s ability to monitor and respond to commercial space vehicle launch and reentry operations in the national airspace system (NAS) and quickly reopen airspace to aircraft. SDI received $23 million in FY 2020.

The Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation would receive a budget boost from $2.5 million to $5.8 million. The center does research, engineering and development on the safe integration of commercial space operations into the NAS.

“This research continues to focus on the integration of launch and reentry activity into the airspace system, advanced safety assessment methods, advanced vehicle safety technologies, and human spaceflight safety,” the budget document said.

“Research will include development of models and methods to reform outdated airspace restriction plans used to protect against launch or re-entry failures, and the development of spaceport site location prototyping tools,” the document added.