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National Space Council Meeting

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Remarks Prepared for Delivery by
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao
National Space Council Meeting
Huntsville, AL
Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Mr. Vice President, Governor Kay Ivey, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and fellow council members, I’m pleased to announce that the Streamlined Launch and Re-entry Licensing Requirements Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is being posted today at FAA.GOV, the FAA’s website.

It will also be published in the Federal Register.  There will be a 60-day comment period.  This NPRM is a major step forward.  It has been 12 years since any launch vehicle rules were updated, so this action will strengthen our country’s competitiveness in the commercial space sector.

The new rule consolidates and revises many launch and reentry licensing requirements into a single regulation.  It also streamlines the licensing process, enables flexible timeframes, redefines when launch begins, and allows the space industry to seek a single license to launch from multiple sites.

The goal is to simplify the licensing process for launch and reentry activity, enable novel operations, and reduce costs.

This effort benefitted from the extraordinary support of stakeholders from the public and private sectors.

This was especially true with the FAA’s Aviation Rulemaking Committee, comprised of more than 40 individuals from across the commercial space and aviation sector. The Committee’s final report was instrumental in helping the Department craft these proposed rules. 

Let me also thank our partners at the Department of Defense and NASA. They have given considerable time and expertise to this important effort. This collaboration is—and will continue to be—critical in streamlining the requirements that apply to commercial space operations from federal launch sites.

In closing, I want to commend the President and you, Vice President Pence, for your leadership and inspiration to do our best to spur American competitiveness for the benefit of the world.

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