FAA Flybys

Yes, darnit, I missed the FAA’s 10th Annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference, held last week, Feb. 6-7 in Arlington. (It's always a terrific event and last year I especially had fun live blogging it; and I told AST chief Patti Smith when I saw her recently at a satellite finance conference in NYC that I would be there this year. Shame on me.)

So instead of a regular Friday Flybys post today, here are some pointers to conference-related and other new goodies and info from our intrepid commercial space regulators at FAA/AST.

First -- drum roll please -- it's official: the hot new regs,
Human Space Flight Requirements for Crew and Space Flight Participants, became effective February 13, 2007. (14 CFR Parts 401, 415, 431, 435, 440 and
460) A milestone in space law. If you haven't read them yet, now is the time.

Next, some newly released FAA Commercial Space Transportation Reports:

  • 2006 Year in Review
  • 2007 Developments and Concepts
  • 2007 1st Quarter Quarterly Launch Report
    (I'm going through these are we speak.)

    And this is a brief
    recap of the conference:
    The FAA’s 10th Annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference, held February 6-7, 2007, featured a lineup of speakers and panels clearly focused on two facts: private human space flight is coming soon and the vehicles that will make it possible will be thoroughly tested, emphasizing safety in every respect.

    Patricia Grace Smith, Associate Administrator of the Office of Commercial Space Transportation, opened the conference. She told the more than 200 assembled participants that the industry is comprised of “exacting people of science and business … guided by the twin credos of safety and excellence.”

    As the conference unfolded, panels on topics ranging from the potential hazards of space weather; to human factors considered in launch vehicle design; to a discussion of when a launch vehicle is ready to carry passengers, repeatedly underscored and reemphasized the importance of safety.

    Prominent speakers including Dr. Antonio Elias, Lon Levin, and Neil Milburn addressed the hands-on facts of the emerging industry. Anousheh Ansari, the first female private space traveler, delivered a first-hand account of what it’s like to live on the International Space Station.

    Summarizing the conference, Dr. George Nield quoted the conference-opening words of Patricia Grace Smith, saying: “After generations of hope, we are doing what we hoped for.” It’s a fact in which FAA is a featured participant and will continue to play an active role in the exciting years just ahead.

  • That should do it for now. Have a slow faa..ast weekend ;).

    * * *
    IMAGE: Left to right, astronauts Robert “Hoot” Gibson, John Herrington, Anousheh Ansari; FAA Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation Patricia Grace Smith; Astronauts Pierre Thuot and Brian Binnie. (Courtesy FAA)

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