Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC)

COMSTAC logoCOMSTAC was established in 1984 to provide information, advice, and recommendations to the FAA Administrator on critical matters concerning the U.S. commercial space transportation industry.

Charter and Bylaws

Next Meeting Information

The next public COMSTAC meeting is scheduled for October 2022.

Watch the Spring 2022 Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC):

Spring 2022 Agenda

Day 1 Afternoon
https://youtu.be/b9Z4y_hmMnY

Day 2, Morning
Morning Session
https://youtu.be/hCMWfGj9Cf4

Day 2 Afternoon
https://youtu.be/Jd4MUgcYBsU

COMSTAC Work Plan — Spring 2022

FAA requests COMSTAC address the following issues between November 2021 and May 2022 timeframe.

Final reports shall be due no later than one year after being assigned, unless noted otherwise.

Task #1 (SWG)

The FAA would like COMSTAC's recommendations on the top 5 high priority areas for future regulation of Human Spaceflight, referencing the 2014 Recommended Practices for Human Spaceflight Occupant Safety as a starting point for areas to consider.

In conjunction with this, FAA is currently updating the Recommended Practices document with previously suggested recommendations provided by COMSTAC. The FAA is considering the expansion of the document's scope to include the following and would like COMSTAC's advice on if these topics should be included at this time:

Flights longer than two weeks
Flights beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO)
Rendezvous and docking
Radiation hazards
Planetary protection
Government astronauts
Spaceflight Participants (SFPs) flying on-board autonomous vehicles
In collaboration with our inter-agency partners, the FAA wants to develop a single source, best practices for human spaceflight. The FAA acknowledges the on-orbit safety recommended practices are beyond current regulatory authority.

The FAA would also like the advice of COMSTAC if there should be different Recommended Practices that may apply to suborbital versus orbital flights, and if so, any initial recommendations as to what those topics should include.

Final recommendations are due at the next COMSTAC meeting in May 2022. A report or white paper on this topic should be submitted after the conclusion of the public meeting.

Task #2 (RWG)

Regarding Part 440 revisions. COMSTAC has recommended that Part 440 be the next rulemaking effort this office undertakes.

Request COMSTAC review and recommend improvements and changes to Part 440.

Specifically, provide recommended language on thresholds used to determine Maximum Probable Loss (MPL), the cost of a casualty, and appropriate alternatives to operator insurance.


Carry forward task from Nov 2021:

Request COMSTAC review and recommend improvements and changes to Part 440. Specifically, provide recommended language on thresholds used to determine MPL, the cost of a casualty, and what alternatives to insurance would industry recommend for operators

Draft paper on MPL thresholds and cost of casualty developed
Sub-taskers require additional input
Propose completion for Spring 2022


A report or white paper on this topic should be submitted after the conclusion of the public meeting.

Task #3 (RWG)

Under 51 U.S. Code § 50905 — License Applications and Requirements,

(5) The holder of a license or a permit under this chapter may launch or reenter a space flight participant only if —

(A) in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Secretary, the holder of the license or permit has informed the space flight participant in writing about the risks of the launch and reentry, including the safety record of the launch or reentry vehicle type, and the Secretary has informed the space flight participant in writing of any relevant information related to risk or probable loss during each phase of flight gathered by the Secretary in making the determination required by section 50914(a)(2) and (c);

What is COMSTACs recommendation on what "relevant information related to risk or probable loss during each phase of flight" (specifically the maximum probably loss (MPL) information) should be incorporated into the information provided to spaceflight participants to comply with the informed consent statutory requirement (U.S.C. §50905(b)(5)(A)).

Final recommendation language due at next COMSTAC meeting in May 2022. A report or white paper on this topic should be submitted after the conclusion of the public meeting.

Task #4 (IIWG)

COMSTAC advice is needed on what research is necessary to move the industry forward regarding global climate change. Final advice and recommended language is due at next COMSTAC meeting in May 2022. A report or white paper on this topic should be submitted after the conclusion of the public meeting.

Task #5 (RWG)

Given that not all of Part 450: Streamlining of Launch and Reentry Licensing Requirements’ Advisory Circulars have been completed, what is the recommended priority for completion? Also, are there others that should be developed to assist the industry in compliance with Part 450?

Recommendations due next COMSTAC meeting in May 2022 (no specific required format)

Task #6 (IIWG)

The United States is moving into a renewed era of high-speed aerospace transportation (HSAT), including flight research, development, testing, and operations. Many of these evolutions will be flown through space and will utilize FAA-licensed spaceports for departure and arrival procedures. These operations, like orbital launch and reentry operations, will also need to be seamlessly integrated into the National Airspace System (NAS) to ensure minimal impact on other, non-involved commercial flight operations in the NAS.

The FAA requests COMSTAC examine HSAT and associated spaceport operations as well as their integration into the NAS and make recommendations regarding what regulatory considerations should be taken now and in the near future.

Recommendations due next COMSTAC meeting in May 2022. A report or white paper on this topic should be submitted after the conclusion of the public meeting.

COMSTAC Membership

COMSTAC membership consists of senior executives from the commercial space transportation industry; representatives from the satellite industry, both manufacturers and users; state and local government officials; representatives from firms providing insurance, financial investment and legal services for commercial space activities; and representatives from academia, space advocacy organizations, and industry associations.

If you have questions or comments, please contact: James Hatt, COMSTAC Executive Director at james.a.hatt@faa.gov.

Last updated: Thursday, May 19, 2022