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FAA Opens New Field Office to Monitor Safety of Commercial Space Operations in Texas, New Mexico; Wayne Monteith Quoted

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has opened a new safety field office in Houston, Texas, in an effort to enhance monitoring of the increasing commercial space operations in the area and in New Mexico.

The new facility will host inspectors tasked to oversee ongoing testings and other work by SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic and other space companies, FAA said Monday.

"Keeping the public safe as the pace of commercial space operations increases requires the FAA to adapt, be agile, and remain vigilant," explained Wayne Monteith, associate administrator of commercial space operations at FAA.

The new office is one of the agency's recent efforts to follow the boom of commercial space launch and reentry activities. In March, FAA streamlined its space operations licensing processes to spend more time monitoring launch and reentry safety than processing applications.

The agency also activated the Space Data Integrator, a new capability that can track space vehicles in near-real-time as they pass through the National Airspace System, in June.