Space: The final frontier … for regulation

Space: The final frontier … for regulation
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Regulators from the Federal Aviation Administration are looking to the skies, The Orlando Sentinel reports.

The FAA’s jurisdiction includes commercial rocket launches. And as technological advances have allowed one firm to send cargo to the International Space Station and a second to plan suborbital space travel as soon as this year, the agency is considering new rules, according to the newspaper.

“Those efforts have led Congress, the administration and industry to begin talking about how to ensure that people and property stay safe in microgravity,” the Sentinel’s Mark K. Matthews writes.  “These proposals run the gamut, from figuring out how to restrict the amount of dangerous 'space junk' shed by spacecraft to finding a way to coordinate traffic in Earth's orbit.”

George Nield, the FAA’s associate administrator for commercial space transportation, made clear the agency’s interest in testimony this week before Congress.

"As the prospects for a greater number of commercial-transportation vehicles in space increase, it is time to consider closing the current regulatory and safety gap between launch and re-entry," Nield told lawmakers.

Check out the complete Orlando Sentinel story here.