"Congratulating Masten Space Systems and Armadillo Aerospace"
Dr. George C. Nield, Washington, D.C.
November 5, 2009

Lunar Lander Challenge Awards Ceremony

Thanks, Doug. Our role in this exciting endeavor was in accordance with our two-fold mission: to ensure public safety during commercial launch and reentry activities, and to encourage, facilitate, and promote commercial space transportation.

Now, as you might expect, when entrepreneurs have to interact with government regulators, there can be a few challenges along the way. And we had some of those. But in the end, airport requirements were satisfied, airspace waivers were obtained, and top-level safety assessments were completed, helping to make sure that these operations could be conducted safely and successfully.

In the not-too-distant future though, instead of a competition, I hope to see commerce. Instead of prizes being awarded, I hope to see profits being earned. And instead of launches being rare and unusual events, I hope to see this industry conducting regular and frequent launches from spaceports all over the country.

NASA deserves a great deal of credit for promoting commercial space activities like these. But our primary focus today needs to be on the talented and hard-working people at Masten Space Systems, Armadillo Aerospace, and the other teams, like Unreasonable Rocket. You have accomplished some amazing things in a very short time.

So on behalf of all of us at the FAA, let me just say, “Congratulations!”