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Licensing Process

Commercial Space 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. Also check the Commercial Space Transportation Regulations page.

Pre-Application Checklists

To help in the pre-application process, Commercial Space Transportation provides simple application checklists organizations may use when applying for a launch or reentry license, experimental permit, launch site operator license, or safety approval. These checklists are available to assist applicants in developing a comprehensive, compliant, and complete application for Commercial Space Transportation review and approval.

Process for all Applicants

All applicants go through a similar Process. These can include a license, permit, or approval.

To start a process contact Commercial Space Transportation.

Initial Discussions

  1. Begins with conversations on the applicant's CONOP
  2. A Commercial Space Transportation POC is assigned to the applicant
  3. A regulatory path is defined based on the applicant's CONOP
  4. Movement into Pre-App depends on License/Permit/Approval

1. Pre-Application Consultation

  1. A full pre-app team is assigned to the applicant
  2. The license documents are created and submitted to Commercial Space Transportation for feedback and refinement
  3. The environmental process (NEPA) begins [if applicable]
  4. The airspace and US Coast Guard discussions begin [if applicable]
  5. Ends when the application is submitted formally and approved by Commercial Space Transportation for evaluation

2. Application Evaluation

  1. 120 days for permits (statutory requirement)
  2. 180 days for licenses (statutory requirement)
  3. 180 days for approvals (internal AST requirement)

3. License Issuance/Denial

  1. If a license/permit/approval is issued, Safety Inspectors conduct inspections.

Commercial Space Transportation Process – Site/Vehicle Operator License

Commercial Space Transportation Process - Site/Vehicle Operator License

(click to enlarge)

After License Issuance

  1. Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement
  2. Modifications
  3. Renewal

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