Commercial Space Transportation Assistance Tool
Need help figuring out which kind of license you need? Let us help! Select an option below.
Will your vehicle be Orbital?
Is your Vehicle Reusable?
Is your Vehicle Designed to Return Intact?
Apply for a license under
No License is Required
Launch & Reenter?
Will your suborbital vehicle meet ALL of the following?
• No Humans onboard
• 150 KM altitude or less
• 200,000 lbs--second total impulse or less
Will Site Operator offer its site to only amateur rockets?
No license is required
Will Site Operator offer its site to other vehicle operators?
Will Launch Site (Spaceport) host only launch vehicles?
Apply for a Launch Site
(Spaceport) Operator License
Will Launch Site (Spaceport) host only reentry vehicles?
This is an Exclusive Use Site:
a Launch Site (Spaceport) license is not required. A launch vehicle license with additional safety considerations is required. Please start again with a Launch Vehicle License.
Are there humans on board your vehicle?
Review Human Space Flight Requirements
(In addition to Parts 415, 431, or 437)
Are you a license applicant looking to
apply for a policy approval in advance
of submitting a license application?
Review Policy Approval
Subparts B of Parts 431 or 415
Are you looking to get an approval to
show compliance with a specific regulation?
Review Safety Element Approval
14 CFR Part 414
Are you a payload owner or operator looking to get approval to launch or reenter a payload?
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.
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.
- Part 413 License Application Procedures Checklist (MS Excel)
- Part 414 Safety Approvals Checklist (MS Excel)
- Part 415 Launch License (other than RLV) Checklist (MS Excel)
- Part 417 Launch Safety (ELV) Checklist (MS Excel)
- Part 420 License to Operate Launch Site Checklist (MS Excel)
- Part 431 Launch and Reentry of RLV Checklist (MS Excel)
- Part 433 License to Operate Reentry Site Checklist (MS Excel)
- Part 435 Reentry of a Reentry Vehicle Other than RLV Checklist (MS Excel)
- Part 437 Experimental Permits Checklist (MS Excel)
- Part 440 Financial Responsibility Checklist (MS Excel)
- Part 460 Human Space Flight Checklist (MS Excel)
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.
- Begins with conversations on the applicant's CONOP
- A Commercial Space Transportation POC is assigned to the applicant
- A regulatory path is defined based on the applicant's CONOP
- Movement into Pre-App depends on License/Permit/Approval
1. Pre-Application Consultation
- A full pre-app team is assigned to the applicant
- The license documents are created and submitted to Commercial Space Transportation for feedback and refinement
- The environmental process (NEPA) begins [if applicable]
- The airspace and US Coast Guard discussions begin [if applicable]
- Ends when the application is submitted formally and approved by Commercial Space Transportation for evaluation
2. Application Evaluation
- 120 days for permits (statutory requirement)
- 180 days for licenses (statutory requirement)
- 180 days for approvals (internal AST requirement)
3. License Issuance/Denial
- If a license/permit/approval is issued, Safety Inspectors conduct inspections.
Commercial Space Transportation Process – Site/Vehicle Operator License
(click to enlarge)
After License Issuance
- Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement