Legislation & Policies, Regulations & Guidance

Commercial Space Transportation Legislation and Policies

National Legislation

National Space Policy

National Space Transportation Policy

Commercial Space Policy

Memorandums of Agreement (MOA) & Memorandums of Understanding (MOU)

International treaties

The United States has ratified the following international treaties:

More information on International Affairs.

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Commercial Space Transportation 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.

New Streamlined Requirements

On September 30, 2020, U.S. Department of Transportation published a new rulemaking around launch and reentry requirements. The streamlined rule provides a safe, performance-based regulatory approach to commercial space transportation. It promotes safety practices by creating flexibility for operators to meet safety requirements, and by enhancing collaboration among stakeholders. The rule also improves efficiency by encouraging potential and current launch site and reentry operators to suggest and implement design and operation solutions. For more information go to Streamlined Licensing Process.

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.

Notice of Proposed Rulemakings

Final Rules

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Commercial Space Transportation Guidance

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.

Any reproduction or modification of this material from original FAA source material is solely the responsibility of the publisher.

Guidance Documents
Title Publication Date
Guidelines for Compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and Related Environmental Review Statutes (PDF) 2/2001
AC 450.155-1A – High Fidelity Flight Safety Analysis 6/2/2021
U.S. Human Space Flight Safety Record Data (PDF) 8/2022
License and Permit Application Guide for Applicants (PDF) 4/2016
Guide to Probability of Failure Analysis for New Expendable Launch Vehicles (PDF) 11/2005
Experimental Permits
Experimental Permit Program (PDF) 5/2008
Sample Experimental Permit Application (PDF) 4/2007
Experimental Permit Checklists (PDF) 8/2007
Human Space Flight Checklist (PDF) 1/2008
Calculation of Safety Clear Zones for Experimental Permits (PDF) 2/2011
Guidance on Informing Crew and Space Flight Participants of Risk (PDF) 4/2017
Reusable Launch & Reentry Vehicle Safety Guides
Guide to Reusable Launch and Reentry Vehicle Software and Computing System Safety (PDF) 7/2006
Guide to Verifying Safety-Critical Structures for Reusable Launch and Reentry Vehicles, Version 1.0 (PDF) 11/2005
Guide to the Identification of Safety-Critical Hardware Items for Reusable Launch Vehicle Developers (PDF) 5/2005
Guide to Reusable Launch and Reentry Vehicle Reliability Analysis (PDF) 4/2005
Guide to Commercial RLV Operations and Maintenance Version 1.0 (PDF) 3/2005
Guidance for Medical Screening of Commercial Aerospace Passengers (PDF) 3/2003
Non-traditional Flight Safety Systems and IVHM (PDF) 8/2003
Guide to RLV Safety Validation and Verification Planning Version 1.0 (PDF) 9/2003
Supplemental Application Guidance for Unguided Suborbital Launch Vehicles (MS Word Docs) 8/1998
Safety Approvals
Guide to commercial space safety approvals (PDF) 4/2016
Brochure on commercial space safety approvals (PDF) 4/2008
Hazard Analysis of Commercial Space Transportation (PDF) 10/1995
Guide for Launch Safety Assessments (PDF) 9/2016
Impacting Inert Debris for People in the Open (PDF) 4/1995
Flight Safety Analysis (FSA) Guidance Documents
Guidance Statement on Flight Safety Analysis Methodology Descriptions  (PDF) 7/2023
Handling Variability and Uncertainty in Flight Safety Analysis  (PDF) 7/2023
Treatment of Uncertainty in Flight Safety Analysis  (PDF) 7/2023

Part 450 Commercial Space Advisory Circulars (ACs) 

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Last updated: Wednesday, April 10, 2024