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starship-design: FAA Regulation and Certification for Space Launch...

Searching for info on the FAA Space Launch question, this just about all I
can find. It dates from 1998.

"But the key to Kistlerís plans in the Australian desert have less to do
with the timing of getting its own, untested proposals into space ahead of
its rivals. This proposal is all about the American regulatory environment.

Technology for commercial launch vehicles is moving faster than the Federal
Aviation Administration's ability to provide regulations for it.

Patti Grace Smith, an associate administrator at the FAA's Commercial Space
Transportation office, says that the development of RLVs posed "the most
challenges" to the FAA. Ms Smith says the FAA currently has the power to
license launch vehicle, but has no authority over landings; making it
impossible for the agency to regulate and approve for use commercial RLVs.

Legislation that has already passed the House of Representatives, with a
similar version already drafted in the Senate, with give the FAA the
authority it needs to handle reentry and reuse issues.

Manuel Vega, chief of regulations of the FAA's Commercial Space
Transportation office, says 16 pages of regulations currently exist for
commercial space launch vehicles, with new regulations under development.
Two new regulations, which call for updated licensing rules and financial
responsibility by launch companies, have been open for public comment.

More ominously for South Australia is the fact that more regulations which
would cover private and state-owned launch sites are under development.

Such is the concern over a possibly unfavourable regulatory environment that
all three companies - Kistler, Rotary Rocket and Pioneer Rocketplane - began
the search two years ago for launch sites outside the United Sates. "

More to come...