Shutdown Delays Proposed Revisions to Launch Licensing Regulations | 2/6/2019 | Staff
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FREMONT, Calif. — The partial government shutdown caused the Federal Aviation Administration to miss a Feb. 1 deadline for releasing a draft of revised launch licensing regulations.

The FAA was working to release a notice of proposed rulemaking, or NPRM, on Feb. 1 on revised regulations to streamline the launch licensing process. That deadline was set by Space Policy Directive 2 announced in February 2018, which called on the Department of Transportation to "rescind or revise those regulations, or publish for notice and comment proposed rules rescinding or revising those regulations" by that date.

FAA - NPRM - Feb - FAA - Spokesman

However, the FAA did not publish an NPRM on Feb. 1. FAA spokesman Hank Price said that the five-week partial government shutdown, which included the FAA, has delayed the release of those proposed rules. "We are assessing the timeline in light of the recent shutdown," he said, but did not give a new schedule.

Space industry executives expected that the FAA would miss the Feb. 1 deadline because of the shutdown. "A lot of us were waiting for these new draft regulations, which are supposed to be the first major overhaul of licensing of our industry over the last several decades," said Courtney Stadd, director of government affairs for Vector, a company developing small launch vehicles.

Stadd - Speaking - Jan - Panel - Washington

Stadd, speaking at a Jan. 30 panel in Washington on the state of the space industry organized by the Space Foundation, said he anticipated the release of those draft rules would be delayed. "Inevitably, that [shutdown] is going to have some impact in terms of moving that to the right."

The revised regulations will likely address a number of topics intended to make it easier for companies to obtain licenses for commercial launches and reentries. Among the goals of the process is to allow the use of performance-based approaches, giving companies the ability to choose...
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