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Government ISS NASA Space Science Technology

NASA and FAA Team To Streamline, Regulate Commercial Space Access 57

Posted by samzenpus
from the rules-in-space dept.
coondoggie writes "The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NASA today said they signed an agreement to coordinate standards for commercial space travel of government and non-government astronauts to and from low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station (ISS). The main goals of the agreement are to establish a framework for the emerging commercial US space industry to help streamline requirements and multiple sets of standards and ultimately to regulate public and crew safety."
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NASA and FAA Team To Streamline, Regulate Commercial Space Access

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  • Also... (Score:2, Funny)

    by jhoegl (638955)
    to prevent pictures of Cheneys house posted on the internet, taken from space.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by davester666 (731373)

      This will totally work, because there is no place else to launch a rocket except within the continental US.

      • by ackthpt (218170)

        This will totally work, because there is no place else to launch a rocket except within the continental US.

        Right.

        In other news: Somolian Space Pirates increase launches

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        For crying out loud... they're only going to set standards and regulate launches from the US. They don't claim to attempt to regulate Russian or Chinese launches. It's no different between normal aircraft, which are under US jurisdiction when they're over US territory. I would imaging if Russia had private space companies, it would regulate them as well.

  • by TWX (665546) on Monday June 18, 2012 @04:52PM (#40364093)
    ...that joint-bureaucracy works...

    The intelligence of a group can be determined by finding the IQ of the least intelligent member of the group, and dividing that number by the total people in the group.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jhoegl (638955)
      I would not factor IQ, but more the brownnoser effect.
      "Yes sir, I think you are correct in saying that every space flight that takes off requires 500 packages of Twizzlers, never mind that you just received a large check from Nestle."
    • by egamma (572162)

      The intelligence of a group can be determined by finding the IQ of the least intelligent member of the group, and dividing that number by the total people in the group.

      Like...contributors to Linux source code? (Or, Apple source code, or Microsoft source code, BeOS source code...etc)

      • by TWX (665546)
        They don't all get into a room together and remain stuck there until a decision is made, which becomes the lowest-common-denominator decision...
    • Precisely.

      Let's hope that they emphasize the "streamline" and minimize the "regulate". Look at how much both the FAA and NASA accomplished in the beginning, then look at how (relatively) little they have accomplished now that they are huge bureaucracies. Then look again at how much small operations, without all the bureaucracy and regulation, have accomplished. Like Scaled Composites and SpaceX.
    • ...that joint-bureaucracy works...

      Yes, they'll put in regulations that protect the incumbents and hamstring the upstarts.

      I was looking recently into why payment processors suck so much and asking "why hasn't this been fixed by competition?" A friend looked into the regulations and came back with a cost of $80M to meet bonding and regulatory requirements to start a new one. Hence, a startup will never be able to create competitive pressure to fix the problems. As somebody put it on a parallel thread, we'

  • Kill it in the crib, before it makes us irrelevant!
  • by turkeyfeathers (843622) on Monday June 18, 2012 @05:13PM (#40364323)
    It won't be any fun until the TSA joins the party
  • Question:? How do we kill off this emerging commercial space flight industry

    Answer: "...establish a framework for the emerging commercial US space industry to help streamline requirements and multiple sets of standards and ultimately to regulate public and crew safety."
    • Re:Query (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nyeerrmm (940927) on Monday June 18, 2012 @05:34PM (#40364505)

      Actual Answer: Leave the regulatory regime completely undefined so that no one will risk launching for fear of over-restrictive 'DO SOMETHING!' regulations killing their business model after they've already settled on an approach.

      Its far better to define reasonable regulations right now than wait for poorly thought out ones to be implemented later when it becomes clear they're necessary.

      Also, the FAA AST (Office of Commercial Space) folks are very supportive of getting a real industry off the ground. They're space enthusiasts, not charicatures of empire-building bureacrats.

      • by Sperbels (1008585)

        Its far better to define reasonable regulations right now than wait for poorly thought out ones to be implemented later when it becomes clear they're necessary.

        Yes, assuming *reasonable* regulations are made. I don't have much faith in that.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Yes, assuming *reasonable* regulations are made. I don't have much faith in that.

          The FAA has done a fair job of regulating the airline industry. The EPA did a damned good job of cleaning up ithe toxic mess that was the USA before the EPA was established. The FDA does a pretty good job regulating medicines (not that they're perfect) and they also do a fair job, even understaffed, of inspecting the foold supply.

          OTOH, local government regs are often incredibly stupid. Don't get your governments confused. The b

      • by Rogerborg (306625)
        Actual Actual Answer: Incorporate in Ireland for tax purposes, set up your headquarters in Ukraine to employ Russian rocket scientists for pennies, and launch from Kazakhstan.

        Meanwhile NASA and the FAA can carry on with their "If we had any commercial space industry, it would behave just so" fantasies in peace. To quote the great philosopher Watterson, designing the snow fort is the fun part.

    • Re:Query (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SixAndFiftyThree (1020048) on Monday June 18, 2012 @05:53PM (#40364637)

      Actually the existing pioneers, including Armadillo Aerospace, XCOR, and some others of whom you (should) have heard, are already working with the FAA and they report that the experience has not been too painful. I can't help worrying when NASA wants to get in on the act, though. NASA's main product is paper, with a few space vehicles as unintentional by-products, and they won't want to disappoint anyone ....

      • by tmosley (996283)
        They will eventually take the lead, demanding more regulation in order to crush any potential new competition. You know, like the car companies and the airlines.
      • by Sperbels (1008585)

        Armadillo Aerospace, XCOR, and some others of whom you (should) have heard, are already working with the FAA and they report that the experience has not been too painful.

        That's because the risks have been low. When you start putting people on top of thousands of tons of explosive propellant, that's when the government starts stepping in and messing everything up.

        • The government should not be stepping in on behalf of the people on top of the rocket. Those people presumably are adults and have balanced the risks they are taking against the rewarding experience of flying into space.

          It's the people that live under the rocket that need some regulation. Presumably launching rockets out over water should minimize many of the risks to the public, but it would still be useful to have the government provide some oversight to minimize the chance of 100's of tons of high expl

  • by arthurpaliden (939626) on Monday June 18, 2012 @05:26PM (#40364419)
    This was foretold. "The Man Who Sold The Moon", Robert A. Heinlein
  • by Tokolosh (1256448) on Monday June 18, 2012 @05:57PM (#40364679)

    FX:
    [plane engine starting, a few misfires, backfires. It stalls, followed by lots of bits falling off]

    Seagoon:
    Well, what shall we build now?

    McChisholm:
    Ah, M-mister Seagoon! Did you no notice? A moment before it fell to bits, it rose seven feet off the ground!

    Seagoon:
    Correction, five feet. Two of those feet were mine!

    McChisholm:
    If, if you ask me, sir, we've invented the hairyplane.

    FX:
    [phone rings, receiver being picked up]

    Seagoon:
    Hello?

    Grytpype-Thynne:
    [speaking over telephone] I hear you've invented the aeroplane.

    Seagoon:
    Who's this speaking?

    Grytpype-Thynne:
    The Air Ministry.

    The Goon Show
    Series 7, Episode 15
    First broadcast on January 10, 1957. Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens

  • I can't wait until those two TLAs get involved - there goes space flight! Buried under a mountain of bureaucratic nonsense so deep, no rocket will be able to get off the ground!

    • by Tokolosh (1256448)

      You misunderstand. Rockets will fly, but only those of well-connected, mega-corporations who can surmount the barriers to entry erected by the government on their behalf.

  • Yes, Mr Armstrong, please put the shoes on the bin, remove your space suit, put them it on the bin, the briefcase like life support unit you are carrying, please unplug it and place it on the conveyor for x-rays, and please stand here and hold your hands over your heads please. No Mr Armstrong, oxygen cylinders are prohibited. The coolant in the life support unit is more than 3.5 fluid oz, so we have to empty it and dump it. Have a nice orbit, Mr Armstrong. Next.
  • I'm about 99% sure that thus far there have never been 2 spacecraft vehicles in the "air" at the same time in all of human history. But hey, go decide who has the right of way at a cosmic 4 way stop lol. Okay, it probably focuses more on realistic stuff like leaving behind space junk but still, kinda funny.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The FAA only has legal authority to regulate air travel operations up to and including 60,000 feet. Even if NASA wanted to delegate low Earth orbit activities to the FAA, the FAA still couldn't do it, because it lacks the authority.

    • Hard to get to "above 60,000 feet" without passing through "under 60,000 feet". I'd imagine the bigger focus is the launch and landing for the FAA. They can then leave LEO to NASA for regulation. (For the record, I'm pretty anti-regulation overall, but I thought I might clarify).

Economists state their GNP growth projections to the nearest tenth of a percentage point to prove they have a sense of humor. -- Edgar R. Fiedler

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