NASA and FAA pen agreement to support future space missions

NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to simplify spaceflight requirements and standards as well as support future space missions. Among other things, the newly drafted memorandum of understanding will see NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration collaborate together on a “clear framework” designed for private companies launching spacecraft.

The space agency made it clear in a statement today that private space companies will be able to follow this new framework set up by the Federal Aviation Administration and NASA. The framework will apply to a “coordinated approach” on how to provide the public with safety information about commercial flights. It will also cover commercial space launches and returns.

In addition, NASA says it will work with the Federal Aviation Administration on new research opportunities, licensing of suborbital and orbital launches, and “facilitating new space technologies.” Among the various details that were dropped, NASA indicated that it and the Federal Aviation Authority would provide pilot programs for the commercial sub-orbital sector.

In a statement, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein said He said:

NASA is now taking commercial cargo and crew missions to the International Space Station, and soon we will send more people and science into space on new suborbital missions. Our partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration will support the growth of US commercial aviation capabilities that will benefit NASA, the nation, and the world at large.

This, of course, isn’t the first time that NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration have worked together. The Federal Aviation Administration is tasked with organizing spaceflight for the commercial sector, including re-entry, and NASA has increasingly embraced private companies as part of its plan to return to the moon in a major way. This new agreement builds on existing collaborations with a focus on the commercial industry.

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