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Legislation & Policies, Regulations & Guidance

Legislation or Regulation?

  • Legislation is a directive proposed by a legislative body.
  • Regulation is a specific requirement within legislation.
  • Legislation is broader and more general.
  • Regulation is specific and details how legislation is enforced.

Commercial Space Transportation
Legislation and Policies

National Legislation

National Policies

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.

Proposed Streamlined Requirements

On March 26, 2019, U.S. Department of Transportation announced proposed new rulemaking around launch and reentry requirements. The proposed 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 precedental 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) 02/2001
Space Transportation Infrastructure Matching (STIM) Grants Program Process (PDF) 11/2013
AST Flight Safety Analysis Handbook (PDF) 09/2011
U.S. Human Space Flight Safety Record Data (PDF) 02/2019
License and Permit Application Guide for
Guide to Probability of Failure Analysis for New Expendable Launch Vehicles (PDF) 11/2005
Experimental Permits
Experimental Permit Program (PDF) 05/2008
Sample Experimental Permit Application (PDF) 04/2007
Experimental Permit Checklists (PDF) 08/2007
Human Space Flight Checklist (PDF) 01/2008
Calculation of Safety Clear Zones for Experimental Permits (PDF) 02/2011
Guidance on Informing Crew and Space Flight Participants of Risk (PDF) 04/2017
Reusable Launch & Reentry Vehicle Safety Guides
Guide to Reusable Launch and Reentry Vehicle Software and Computing System Safety (PDF) 07/2006
Guide to Verifying Safety-Critical Structures for Reusable Launch and Reentry Vehicles,
Version 1.0
Guide to the Identification of Safety-Critical Hardware Items for Reusable Launch Vehicle Developers (PDF) 05/2005
Guide to Reusable Launch and Reentry Vehicle Reliability Analysis (PDF) 04/2005
Guide to Commercial RLV Operations and Maintenance Version 1.0 (PDF) 03/2005
Guidance for Medical Screening of Commercial Aerospace Passengers (PDF) 03/2003
Non-traditional Flight Safety Systems and IVHM (PDF) 08/2003
Guide to RLV Safety Validation and Verification Planning Version 1.0 (PDF) 09/2003
Supplemental Application Guidance for Unguided Suborbital Launch Vehicles (MS Word) (MS Word Docs) 08/1998
Draft Guidelines for Commercial Suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicle Operations with Space Flight Participants (PDF) 02/2005
Draft Guidelines for Commercial Suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicle Operations with Flight Crew (PDF) 02/2005
Advisory Circular: Hazard analysis for the launch or reentry of a reusable suborbital rocket under an experimental permit
Advisory Circular: Reusable launch and reentry vehicle system safety process
Advisory Circular: Anomaly reporting and corrective action for a reusable suborbital rocket operating under an experimental permit
Advisory Circular: 450.101-A High Consequence Event Protection 5/20/2021
Advisory Circular: AC 450.103-1 System Safety Program 9/7/2021
Advisory Circular: 450.107-1 Hazard Control Strategies 7/27/2021
Advisory Circular: 450.108-1 Flight Abort Rule Development 7/27/2021
Advisory Circular: 450.109-1 Flight Hazard Analysis 8/5/2021
Advisory Circular: 450.115-1A High Fidelity Flight Safety Analysis 6/24/2021
Advisory Circular: 450.117-1 Trajectory Analysis for Normal Flight 8/19/2021
Advisory Circular: 450.141-A Computing Systems and Software 10/15/2020
Advisory Circular: 450.173-1 Part 450 Mishap Plan – Reporting, Response, and Investigation Requirements 8/12/2021
Advisory Circular: 450.179-1 Ground Safety 9/22/2021
Safety Approvals
Guide to commercial space safety approvals (PDF) 04/2016
Brochure on commercial space safety approvals (PDF) 04/2008
Hazard Analysis of Commercial Space
Guide for Launch Safety Assessments (PDF) 09/2016
Impacting Inert Debris for People in the Open (PDF) 04/1995

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