FAA Stretches Deadline For Comment Period On Overhauling Of Commercial Launch Rules

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has decided to stretch the comment period on overhauling about rules of commercial launch. This has been done because someone from the industry wants to have more discussion with the administration regarding the suggested revisions. During the meeting of Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee of FAA on May 30, Associate administrator of the agency, Wayne Monteith mentioned that the deadline is being pushed for public to comment within June 14 and July 30.

This step was taken after several companies from the commercial launch industry and concerned organizations complained about the time period. They said that the previous 2 months comment period given for notice of proposed rulemaking was not enough. They would have to make draft of nearly 580 pages suggesting regulations maintaining the FAA circulars that have been added by reference. Monteith therefore said in his speech that they have considered their requests. The industry was thereby granted an additional 120 days to thoroughly make the draft and review the given proposal. They would now be looking towards valid comments.

The suggested rules have covered the regulatory procedure for all commercial launches as well as reentries. The regulations have been shifted from prescriptive to performance based in order to allow the companies more space in maintaining the safety measures. It has also provided companies to use single license for launching vehicle at different sites rather than using different license for every site.

During the COMSTAC meeting, few representatives from the industry tried shaping the proposed regulations in different ways. They talked about reconvening the committee for aviation rulemaking or ARC. Monteith said on that matter that FAA is bound by strict and direct rules which must be followed as a part of rulemaking procedure. It naturally restricts alternative discussions and inputs. ARC members are however free to reconvene and come forward with a set of suggestions to the FAA regarding proposed rules comment.

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