Amateur rocket launches are often a first step in launch program development or as a pinnacle for rocketry organizations (i.e., university clubs). Amateur rocketry operations are not licensed by the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation since they are not regulated under 14 CFR Chapter III. The FAA Air Traffic Organization (ATO) regulates amateur rocketry under 14 CFR Part 101 Subpart C—Amateur Rockets.
To qualify as an amateur rocket, the launch must be suborbital, not have any humans onboard, remain under 150 km (93.2 statute miles), and have a total impulse under 200,000 lb-sec (889,600 Newton seconds).
Amateur rocket authorizations are requested through local air traffic authorities with Office of Commercial Space Transportation support. Amateur rocket operators should apply for a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization by submitting FAA Form 7711-2. The form requires information such as, but not limited to: a description of the operation, vehicle dimensions, quantities of propellants, expected altitude, expected downrange impact point, and if the vehicle will be recovered.
To start the process, contact Commercial Space Transportation (PDF).
For more information on other operations that do not meet these amateur rocket criteria, please use our Commercial Space Transportation Assistance Tool.