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House Approves Authorized Budget Increase for FAA AST

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The House of Representatives has approved a Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, which includes proposals supporting the agency’s commercial spaceflight operations and a possible increase in budget, SpaceNews reported Friday.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 raises the budget of the agency’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) from less than $22.6 million in 2018 to over $33 million in 2019.

The bill aims to provide AST with an authorized allocation of $76 million by 2023.

Bill Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced the amendment to the bill, which passed on a 393-13 vote.

The amendment also authorizes aircraft with experimental licenses to conduct commercial space transportation support flights, assigns the AST head to become the communication bridge between the commercial space transportation industry and the FAA, and tasks the transportation secretary with reviewing demands for spaceports.

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