NASA and the FAA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement to streamline spaceflight requirements and standards in addition to supporting future space missions. Among other things, the newly penned MOU will see NASA and FAA work together on a ‘clear framework’ designed for private companies launching space vehicles.
Private space companies will be able to follow this new framework formed by the FAA and NASA, the space agency explained in a statement today. The framework will apply to ‘coordinating an approach’ on how to provide the public with safety information about commercial flights. As well, it will cover commercial space launches and re-entry.
As well, NASA says that it will work with the FAA on new research opportunities, licensing suborbital and orbital launches, and ‘facilitating new space technologies.’ Among the various details dropped, NASA noted that it and the FAA will be advancing pilot programs for the commercial suborbital sector.
In a statement, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said:
NASA is now flying commercial cargo and crew missions to the International Space Station, and soon we will send more people and science to space on new suborbital flights. Our partnership with the FAA will support the growth of American commercial aerospace capabilities that will benefit NASA, the nation, and the entire world.
This, of course, isn’t the first time NASA and the FAA have worked together. The FAA is tasked with regulating commercial sector space flight, including re-entry, and NASA has increasingly embraced private companies as part of its plan to return to the Moon in a major way. This new agreement builds upon the current collaborations with a focus on the commercial industry.