Spaceport America, New Mexico. Photo Courtesy of Vyonyx. Ltd.
Opportunities for Cooperation
The advancement of commercial space transportation operations presents a unique set of global challenges for the U.S. commercial space transportation industry and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), leading to opportunities for international cooperation. In response to these challenges and opportunities, the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) has established the AST International Affairs Program.
The focus of this program is to foster a common understanding of and approach to developing internationally consistent operational safety principles and procedures for commercial launch and reentry operations. Specifically AST is sharing its regulatory philosophy with countries interested in developing new spaceports and/or hosting U.S. commercial launch vehicles.
For the future, AST envisions commercial human spaceflight maturing beyond suborbital flights by individual nations into point-to-point regional and intercontinental travel. Effective growth in this area will require coordination among numerous countries to establish a common foundation of safety and ensure global interoperability. AST looks forward to working with international partners for this new era of commercial space transportation. You can view and print the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation International Outreach (PDF) brochure.
For international outreach efforts, AST works in concert with the FAA Office of International Affairs (API) to benefit from API's global presence and leadership in the development of international aviation standards, technical assistance, training, and infrastructure planning.
The Office of Commercial Space Transportation has engaged in discussions with representatives from several countries and organizations including: Sweden, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Japan, Singapore, Curacao, Italy, the European Union, and the European Aviation Safety Agency. In addition, AST has presented papers at international conferences and symposia and AST staff also chair the Commercial Spaceflight Safety Committee and Entrepreneurship and Investment Committee within the International Astronautical Federation. The committees facilitate the exchange of information to assist government and industry partners in planning for domestic and international activities.
The FAA welcomes the opportunity to discuss its commercial space regulations with international government entities interested in building a regulatory structure for their commercial space industry.
For countries interested in attracting U.S. vehicles, it is important to remember that when operating outside the U.S., any commercial entity organized under U.S. law must obtain an FAA license and comply with FAA regulations.
For additional information about the AST International Outreach Program, contact:
Program Lead for International Outreach
FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST)
International Memoranda of Cooperation
- Memorandum of Cooperation – FAA and Italy ENAC signed March 12, 2014 (PDF)
- Memorandum of Cooperation – FAA and France CNES signed June 16 2015 (PDF)
- Memorandum of Cooperation – FAA and United Kingdom, signed July 2014 (PDF)
- Certification vs Licensing, Dr. Nield at IAC in Naples, Oct. 2, 2012 (PDF)
- Industry Standards paper, IAC September 4 2013 FAA final (PDF)
- Informed Consent paper, IAC September 4 2013, FAA final (PDF)
- Exploration, CST opportunites, Nield FAA paper, IAA SEC Dec 20 2013 (PDF)
- The Origin and Practice of U.S. Commercial Human Space Flight Regulation
- Instant Access: The Uncommon Union of New Media & Spaceflight (MS PowerPoint)
- Suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicles and Emerging Markets (PDF)