While spaceflight has typically been a government-directed activity, commercial spaceflight has gradually been taking on a greater role. The first private human spaceflight took place on June 21, 2004, when SpaceShipOne conducted a suborbital flight, and a number of non-governmental companies have been working to develop a space tourism industry. NASA has also played a role to stimulate private spaceflight through programs such as Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) and Commercial Crew Development (CCDev). With its 2011 budget proposals released in 2010, the Obama administration moved towards a model where commercial companies would supply NASA with transportation services of both people and cargo transport to low Earth orbit. The vehicles used for these services could then serve both NASA and potential commercial customers. Commercial resupply of ISS began two years after the retirement of the Shuttle, and commercial crew launches could begin by 2020.
Human Spaceflight Participant: Someone who is engaging in spaceflight as a paying passenger but is not a member of the crew or launch provider.
Flight Crew: Crew that is on board a vehicle during a launch or reentry.
Suborbital Flight: Suborbital spaceflight occurs when a spacecraft reaches space but its velocity is such that it cannot achieve orbit. Many people believe that in order to achieve spaceflight, a spacecraft must reach an altitude higher than 100 kilometers (62 miles) above sea level. Suborbital flights go beyond the Kármán line Line (62 statute miles/52 km). These altitudes normally provide microgravity for 3-4 minutes of weightless flight.
Orbital Flight: Orbital spaceflight occurs when a spacecraft is placed on a trajectory with sufficient velocity to place it into orbit around the Earth, generally at speeds at or greater than 17,500 mph. Speeds in excess of 25,000 mph will provide Earth gravity escape velocities such as or the purposes of traveling to the moon or beyond.
- History of Human Spaceflight
- Guidance on Informing Crew and Space Flight Participants of Risk (PDF)
- Recommended Practices for Human Spaceflight Occupant Safety (PDF)
Part 460 — Human Space Flight Requirements
Part 440 Financial Responsibility Checklist (MS Excel)
Part 460, Human Space Flight Requirements, is for an applicant who is seeking a license or permit for suborbital or orbital spaceflight for the purposes of putting flight crew and/or spaceflight participants into space. This can also include remotely-controlled and autonomous operations.
Part 460 contains two subparts: