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NASA, FAA Partner to Increase Space Transportation Capabilities; Jim Bridenstine Quoted

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NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) signed a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) to foster commercial space transportation capabilities, including commercial crew and cargo activities, NASA reported on Friday. 

“Our partnership with the FAA will support the growth of American commercial aerospace capabilities that will benefit NASA, the nation, and the entire world,” said NASA administrator and 2019 Wash100 Award recipient, Jim Bridenstine

The NASA-FAA MOU follows the success of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 launch, the first crewed mission from American soil to be licensed by the FAA. The new agreement will support the transportation of government and non-government passengers, cargo and other payloads for orbital and suborbital space missions. 

The partnership will work to drive safe and cost-effective transportation, as well as streamline spaceflight standards and requirements. NASA and the FAA will develop a framework for private industry to follow for commercial launch and re-entry. 

Additionally, the agencies will create an approach for sharing safety data with the public to enhance understanding of the known risks of commercial space travel. NASA also will work with the FAA to license orbital and suborbital flights, develop new space technologies and research opportunities and advance point-to-point commercial suborbital pilot programs. 

“The partnership between the FAA and NASA is vital to continue the growth, innovation and safety of commercial space operations, and maintain the pre-eminence of U.S. leadership in the aerospace sector,” said FAA administrator Steve Dickson.

NASA is currently working with the FAA on commercial suborbital spaceflight activities through the Commercial Crew Program’s Suborbital Crew (SubC) efforts to extend suborbital space transportation capabilities for NASA astronauts and other NASA personnel.