Audit Initiated of FAA’s Integration of Commercial Space Operations Into the National Airspace System

WASHINGTON (FAA PR) — The National Airspace System (NAS) is used by the commercial space industry to transport astronauts, satellites, and, recently, civilian passengers into space. For these operations, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must shut down large portions of the airspace, resulting in operational inefficiencies to other users. FAA is developing the Space Data Integrator (SDI) to help reduce the impacts these operations have on other users of the NAS.

Citing the increasing frequency and complexity of commercial space launches, the Ranking Members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and its Subcommittee on Aviation requested this audit. The objectives will be to assess (1) FAA’s progress in implementing the SDI program and (2) actions taken and planned by FAA and the aerospace and aviation industries to integrate commercial space operations into the NAS.

FAA Rolls Out New System to Better Track Launches, Reentries

WASHINGTON (FAA PR) – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) can now track a space launch or reentry vehicle in near-real time as it travels through the National Airspace System. This new capability increases safety for all airspace users and assists the FAA in efficiently managing air traffic during space operations.

The Space Data Integrator (SDI) prototype automates the delivery of vehicle-related telemetry data to the FAA Air Traffic Control System Command Center. This vastly improves the FAA’s situational awareness of where the vehicle is as it travels to space or as it returns to the Earth. In addition to existing tools, the FAA also can use SDI to manage air traffic more efficiently as a space operation progresses and address contingencies in the event of an anomaly during a mission.

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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.

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NOAA, FAA AST Space Programs Get Funding Boosts

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Last week, we took a look at the significant increase in NASA’s budget for FY 2019. In this story, we will examine the budget increases for the Commerce Department — which manages the nation’s weather satellites — and the Department of Transportation, which oversees commercial launches. We will also take a look how the White House’s National Space Council fared.

Commerce Department

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

NOAA’s satellite programs received $1,45 billion, which is an increase of $55 million over FY 2018. The bulk of the funding is designated for the GOES-R,  Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and Polar Follow-on (PFO) programs. The amounts include:

  • JPSS: $548 million
  • GOES-R: $408.4 million
  • PFO: $330 million

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