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NASA and FAA partner for new commercial space flight standards

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NASA and the FAA have teamed up for a set of proposed standards to govern and regulate future commercial space flight to the International Space Station.

International Space Station
International Space Station

Less than a month after SpaceX successfully launched the first private space flight to the International Space Station, NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration have signed an agreement standardizing the practices and procedures for future flights to the ISS. Under the terms, each agency will take on a distinct role in operations moving forward. The FAA will continue to license and regulate companies providing commercial space flights, while NASA will apply its expertise to ensure mission viability and the safety of crew members. Under the banner of its Commercial Crew Program, NASA will also be partnering with private companies, providing financial assistance and technical expertise in order to help them create new rescue and transportation services that would cover the leap from low-Earth orbit to docking with the ISS. NASA will then buy those same services for future US missions. The partnership is being characterized as a boon not just for scientific pursuits, but for economic and technological interests as well, with the FAA's Michael Huerta stating that the "agreement between the FAA and NASA continues and advances those vital national interests."