Enabling Statute

The Commercial Space Launch Act of 1984, as amended and re-codified at 51 U.S.C. 50901 - 50923 (the Act), authorizes the Department of Transportation (DOT) and, through delegations, the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST), to oversee, authorize, and regulate both launches and reentries of launch and reentry vehicles, and the operation of launch and reentry sites when carried out by U.S. citizens or within the United States. The Act directs the FAA to exercise this responsibility consistent with public health and safety, safety of property, and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. The Act also directs the FAA to encourage, facilitate, and promote commercial space launches and reentries by the private sector, including those involving space flight participants.

Commercial Space Regulations

FAA commercial space transportation regulations are located in Chapter III, Parts 400 to 460, of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The regulations implement statutory requirements.

Amateur Rocket Activities are not regulated under 14 CFR Chapter III; they are regulated under 14 CFR Chapter I, by the FAA Air Traffic Organization.

Recently Published and Historical Rulemakings

The published rulemakings listed below include commercial space transportation proposed rules and final rules that have been published in the Federal Register. These rulemaking documents include preamble language that provides background information and justification relevant to current regulations.

Guidance Documents

Guidance documents provide information to aid understanding and compliance with specific FAA regulations. They include Advisory Circulars, guidelines, handbooks, and sample applications about commercial space transportation safety and other regulatory matters. Although not guidance per se, legal interpretations from the FAA’s Office of the Chief Counsel address specific legal issues that have precedential effect.

Useful Links

These links provide additional information about regulations and the regulatory process.