November 22, 2019

As the FAA Works to Finalize New Rule to Streamline Commercial Space Transportation Regulations, Committee Leaders Urge the Agency to Maintain Airspace Safety, and Efficiency, and Aerospace Leadership

Washington, DC- Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO), Chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation Rick Larsen (D-WA), and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Aviation Garret Graves (R-LA) sent a letter to the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Stephen Dickson regarding the FAA’s ongoing rulemaking to streamline current regulations to further integrate the burgeoning commercial space transportation industry into the National Airspace System.

The Committee leaders made clear to the FAA that as it works to finalize its commercial space transportation rule, it must continue to ensure the safety of other airspace users, including airlines, owners and operators of general aviation aircraft, commercial flight crews, and the traveling public.

In addition, the Members urged the FAA to maintain airspace efficiency and work to minimize disruptions attributable to rocket launches and reentries. The Members wrote, “While the FAA is working to reduce the amount and duration of each airspace closure during a launch or reentry, the technology necessary to achieve that objective is still in the development and testing stages. Without this technology in place, the segregation of commercial space operations can disrupt the rest of the airspace system, leading to flight delays and cancellations, longer flight times over increased distances around closed airspace, and added fuel burn, among other adverse effects for airlines, passengers, and general aviation operators.”

A full copy of the letter can be found here.