FAA Approves Renewal of Orbital Sciences Launch Operator Licenses for Pegasus

Stargazer aircraft carrying Pegasus XL rocket with CYGNSS satellite. (Credit: Orbital ATK)

WASHINGTON, DC (FAA PR) — After completing a comprehensive review, the FAA approved the renewal of two Launch Operator Licenses for Orbital Sciences, LLC, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman.

The licenses are valid for five years and authorize the company to conduct flights of its Pegasus launch vehicle from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia and the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Orbital Sciences must still receive FAA authorization for specific launches.

The Pegasus operates by being attached to a carrier aircraft and launched while airborne to deliver payloads to low earth orbit.

The FAA’s top priority in regulating commercial space transportation is that launch and reentry operations are safe for the public. The agency protects public safety by licensing commercial launch and reentry activities and monitoring regulatory compliance in all phases of FAA-licensed operations. It also issues safety approvals for launch and reentry vehicles, various safety systems and the personnel performing licensed activities.

An FAA license is required to conduct any commercial launch or reentry, the operation of any launch or reentry site by U.S. citizens anywhere in the world, or by any individual or entity within the United States.