The Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) was established in 1984 as part of the Office of the Secretary of Transportation within the Department of Transportation (DOT). In November 1995, AST was transferred to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as the FAA's only space-related line of business. AST was established to:
AST manages its licensing and regulatory work as well as a variety of programs and initiatives to ensure the health and facilitate the growth of the U.S. commercial space transportation industry through the Office of the Associate Administrator along with its five divisions: the Space Transportation Development Division, the Licensing and Evaluation Division, the Regulations and Analysis Division, the Safety Inspection Division, and the Operations Integration Division.
The AST issues FAA licenses and permits for commercial launches of orbital rockets and suborbital rockets. The first U.S. licensed launch was a suborbital launch of a Starfire vehicle on March 29, 1989. Since then, AST has licensed over 200 launches. The AST also issues licenses for the operations of non-federal launch sites, or "commercial spaceports." (PDF) Since 1996, AST has issued site operator licenses for eight commercial spaceports.
Page Last Modified: 02/13/13 14:11 EST
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