Tag: FAA

News Briefs: CRS2 Delayed, Accident Updates, Blue Origin & Dream Chaser Flights

SpaceShipTwo disintegrates as its two tail booms fall away. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

SpaceShipTwo disintegrates as its two tail booms fall away. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

Several agencies gave presentations yesterday before the National Research Council’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board. Jeff Foust of SpaceNews reported on the following updates:

  • NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Bill Gerstenmaier said the agency has delayed a decision on its Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contracts from June to September to allow more time to evaluate bids. Known bidders include SpaceX, Orbital ATK, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Sierra Nevada Corporation.
  • Gerstenmaier said Sierra Nevada’s final funded commercial crew milestone — a second drop test of the Dream Chaser shuttle — is now scheduled for December.
  • FAA Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation (FAA AST) George Nield reported that Blue Origin will be flying its suborbital New Shepard spacecraft within weeks.
  • Nield said the NTSB will be providing FAA AST with a report on the SpaceShipTwo accident within a month or two. He expects a final report to be published sometime in the summer.
  • Nield said he expects an accident report from Orbital ATK on last October’s Antares failure within the next several weeks.

Space Symposium Launch Vehicle Panel


The 31st Space Symposium is taking place all week in Colorado Springs. It’s already generated some news, with ULA unveiling its new launch vehicle [here and here], Paul Allen demanding the company change the rocket’s name, and Rocket Lab showing off its electric motor.

I wasn’t able to attend this year, but I’ve been monitoring the events via Twitter.  Today’s most interesting session appears to have been a launch vehicle panel that included Aerojet Rocketdyne, Arianespace, Blue Origin, Orbital ATK, SpaceX and ULA.

Continue reading ‘Space Symposium Launch Vehicle Panel’

GAO Conducting Audit of FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation


Capitol Building
A Government Accountability Office audit team is doing a field study on the effectiveness of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA AST), the head of the Mojave Air and Space Port revealed.

Spaceport CEO Stu Witt reported during a recent board meeting that the team had visited Mojave recently. In addition to meeting with the team, he also provided written responses to its questions.

The audit team will report back on the effectiveness of FAA AST to the House Science Committee.

Space Access Society Update


Space Access Update #139
Copyright 2015 by Space Access Society

In this Issue:

FY’16 Political Season Underway: Early Roundup

House Passes NASA Authorization

Commercial Crew Contracts

FAA AST “Learning Period” Extension

Our Colleagues Have Been Busy

                          Pioneering Space Summit

                          Alliance For Space Development

                          March Storm

         Space Access ’15 Conference April 30 – May 2, 2015 in Phoenix


FY’16 Political Season Underway: Early Roundup

While we’ve been putting together our upcoming Space Access Conference, another DC space political season has been getting underway. It’s time we took a quick look at what’s going on so far. In no particular order… Continue reading ‘Space Access Society Update’

Space Development Alliance Lays Out Ambitious Agenda


The new Alliance for Space Development (ASD) has set out an ambitious agenda for itself, with a set of objectives that include radically reducing the cost of getting to orbit and expanding NASA’s purpose to support the settlement of humanity off the Earth.

Continue reading ‘Space Development Alliance Lays Out Ambitious Agenda’

Blakey Departs AIA for Rolls Royce

Marion Blakey

Marion Blakey

ARLINGTON, Va. (AIA PR) —The Aerospace Industries Association announces today that after her successful seven-year tenure as President and Chief Executive Officer, Marion C. Blakey will be leaving to take the position of President and CEO of Rolls Royce North America.

“AIA has been very fortunate to have Marion’s leadership over the last seven years,” said AIA Chairman and President and Chief Executive Officer of GE Aviation, David L. Joyce. “Under Marion’s guidance, AIA has elevated its role advocating in the best interests of the nation and the aerospace and defense industry.”

Beginning in November of 2007, Blakey’s tenure saw the achievement of numerous milestones for the industry. AIA’s advocacy played a key role in changing the classification of commercial satellites in 2014, enabling American manufacturers to better compete in the global market. AIA’s work in support of the Next Generation Air Transportation System has been widely recognized by industry and government.

Continue reading ‘Blakey Departs AIA for Rolls Royce’

Learning Period Extension Could Depend on SpaceShipTwo Investigation Results

SpaceShipTwo disintegrates as its two tail booms fall away. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

SpaceShipTwo disintegrates as its two tail booms fall away. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

During the FAA’s recent Commercial Space Transportation Conference in Washington, DC, there was a lot of talk about extending the learning period and regulatory “moratorium” on commercial human spaceflight that expires on Sept. 30.

Having failed to fly into space in the decade since the restrictions were put into place, industry naturally wants yet another extension so they can continue learning their lessons. In the meantime, voluntary standards will suffice. The FAA is of another mind, wanting to have the authority to write a basic set of safety standards and to react quickly to situations as they develop.

Continue reading ‘Learning Period Extension Could Depend on SpaceShipTwo Investigation Results’

Battle Brewing Over Extending Commercial Spaceflight Learning Period

Part of SpaceShipTwo's fuselage. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

Part of SpaceShipTwo’s fuselage. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A battle is brewing over whether to extend the learning period for the commercial spaceflight industry, with Congress needing to make a decision before October on when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be allowed to regulate an industry still struggling to get off the ground.

On one side are FAA officials, who believe they can begin to craft basic safety regulations based on more than 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Industry figures dispute this, saying they still don’t have enough experience with their varied vehicles to begin the process.

Continue reading ‘Battle Brewing Over Extending Commercial Spaceflight Learning Period’

FAA Seeks Budget Boost for Commercial Space Transportation Office


faa_logoCiting a sharp increase in workloads, the Federal Aviation Administration has asked Congress for an additional $1.3 million for Fiscal Year 2016 in order to hire an additional 13 full-time employees for the Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST). Officials say the plan is to eventually hire 25 full-time staffers.

“FY 2014 was a very busy year for commercial space with a total of 19 licensed or permitted launches. That is more than six times the level of activity that we had in 2012, which only had three licensed or permitted launches,” said FAA-AST Associate Administrator George Nield

“We have essentially been relatively flat in terms of resources in recent years,” he added during the FAA’s 18th Commercial Space Transportation Conference last week. “At the same time, we’ve seen that activity level increase by a factor of six. We have been looking at improvements in terms of the different ways to do business to try to stay up with the pace.”

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FAA Moves to Establish Framework for Commercial Lunar Operations

Artist's conception of a Bigelow lunar habitat. (Credit: Bigelow Aerospace)

Artist’s conception of a Bigelow lunar habitat. (Credit: Bigelow Aerospace)

A recent government review of Bigelow Aerospace’s ambitious plans for settlements on the moon did not result in an endorsement of private property rights and ownership on the Moon.

“I want to make clear that the FAA today has responsibility to license launches and reentry and nothing in between,” said George Nield, who is associate administrator for Commercial Space Transportation at the FAA (FAA AST).

Continue reading ‘FAA Moves to Establish Framework for Commercial Lunar Operations’