Photo of Spaceport America, New Mexico

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.

Outreach Activities

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 AST has engaged in discussions with representatives from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the European Aviation Safety Agency, and representatives from Sweden, France, and the United Kingdom. Additionally, AST presents papers at international conferences and symposia, and regularly holds one-on-one bilateral discussions with several nations. The AST also chairs the Commercial Spaceflight Safety Committee within the International Astronautical Federation. This committee facilitates the exchange of information to assist government and industry partners in planning for international activity.

The AST 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 those interested in visiting FAA Headquarters in Washington, DC, the Office of International Affairs’ International Visitors Program (IVP) is a great opportunity to consider. For more information, visit the Foreign Visitors to FAA web page.

For additional information about the AST International Outreach Program, contact the following:

For Asia and North America, contact:
John Sloan
International Outreach Program Lead
(202) 267-7989

For Europe and South America, contact:
Megan Mitchell
International Program Specialist
(202) 267-7183

For Africa and the Middle East, contact:
Mahamane Touré
International Program Specialist
(202) 267-8464


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