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ASK OCE — November 3, 2006 — Vol. 1, Issue 15


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and U.S. Air Force Space Command issued new common federal launch safety standards on August 25, 2006. The goal of the new rules, which ensure that safety standards will apply to both federal and non-federal launch sites, is to create consistent, integrated space launch rules for all launch facilities across the nation.

According to the FAA, the new standards will enhance public safety by putting in place uniform launch procedures that will allow the identification of potential problems early in the launch process. This will be accomplished by the establishment of “a formal system of safety checks and balances.”

Both the FAA and the U.S. Air Force (USAF) have congressionally mandated responsibilities for the safety of licensed launches from Air Force launch ranges. Since 1997, the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation and USAF Space Command have collaborated to develop, maintain, improve, and document common launch safety requirements. Most commercial space launch activities licensed by the FAA have taken place at the national launch ranges at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, both of which are operated by USAF Space Command.


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