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
- U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act 2015 (H.R. 2262) (PDF)
- 51 USC Ch.509: Commercial Space Launch Activities (2015)
- Commercial Space Launch Act, 51 U.S.C. Ch. 509, §§ 50901-23 (2011)
- Memorandum of Understanding between NASA and FAA Regarding Achievement of Mutual Goals in Commercial Space Activities (01/4/2021) (PDF)
- Statement of Policy on Waiving Ground Safety Regulations at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Wallops Flight Facility, and Kennedy Space Center (11/2020) (PDF)
- Fact Sheet: National Space Transportation Policy (11/21/2013) (PDF)
- National Space Transportation Policy (11/21/2013) (PDF)
- MOU between NTSB, USAF and AST Regarding Space Launch Accidents (9/2004) (PDF)
- Memorandum of Understanding Between Air Force Space Command and Federal Aviation Administration Office of the Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation for Resolving Requests for Relief from Common Launch Safety Requirements (PDF) (Latest Effective date 11/25/2013)
- Legal Interpretations Affecting Commercial Space Transportation
- Maurice-AEE-1 – (2013) Legal Interpretation (PDF)
- Milburn-Armadillo Aerospace – (2006) Legal Interpretation (PDF)
- Wong-AST-200 – (2011) Legal Interpretation (PDF)
- Simmons – (2010) Legal Interpretation (PDF)
- Meredith-BlueOrigin – (2006) Legal Interpretation (PDF)
- Winton-Aviation Law Experts – (2008) Legal Interpretation (PDF)
- Smith-Central Flying Service – (2008) Legal Interpretation (PDF)
The United States has ratified the following international treaties:
- Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space
- Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space
Objects (1972): PDF, MS Word
- Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (Outer Space Treaty of 1967): PDF, MS Word
More information on International Affairs.
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
- 11-62 404-6 405-6 420-8 431-6 435-4 437-2 460-2; Title: Updates to Rulemaking and Waiver Procedures and Expansion of the Equivalent Level of Safety Option
- 431-5; Title: Commercial Space Transportation Reusable Launch Vehicle and Reentry Licensing Regulations; Technical Amendment
- 406-8; Title: Civil Penalty Inflation Adjustment for Commercial Space Adjudications; Second Amendment
- 400-4; Title: Voluntary Licensing of Amateur Rocket Operations; Withdrawal
- 400-3 401-7 404-5 405-5 406-7 413-10 414-2 415-5 417-3 420-5 431-3 433-2 435-2 437-1 440-3 460-1; Title: Correction of Authority Citations for Commercial Space Transportation
- 420-6A; Title: Explosive Siting Requirements; Correction
- 417-2; Title: Launch Safety: Lightning Criteria for Expendable Launch Vehicles
- 401-01 411-01 413-03 415-03 417; Title: Commercial Space Transportation Licensing Regulations
- 440-4; Title: Reciprocal Waivers of Claims for Licensed or Permitted Launch and Reentry Activities
- Search More NPRMs (FAA NPRM Database)
- Exclusion of Tethered Launches From Licensing Requirements Final Rule (PDF)
- Changing the Collective Risk Limits for Launches and Reentries and Clarifying the Risk Limit Used to Establish Hazard Areas for Ships and Aircraft Final
- Reciprocal Waivers of Claims for Licensed or Permitted Launch and Reentry Activities Final Rule (PDF)
- Search More Final Rules (FAA Final Rule Database)
- Streamlined Launch and Reentry Licensing Requirements Final Rule (PDF)
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.