New Regulations Govern Private Human Space Flight Requirements for Crew and Space Flight Participants

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today issued regulations establishing requirements for crew and space flight participants (passengers) involved in private human space flight. The new rules maintain FAA’s commitment to protect the safety of the uninvolved public and call for measures that enable passengers to make informed decisions about their personal safety.

The regulations require launch vehicle operators to provide certain safety-related information and identify what an operator must do to conduct a licensed launch with a human on board. In addition, launch operators are required to inform passengers of the risks of space travel generally and the risks of space travel in the operators vehicle in particular. These regulations also include training and general security requirements for space flight participants.

The regulations also establish requirements for crew notification, medical qualifications and training, as well as requirements governing environmental control and life support systems. They also require a launch vehicle operator to verify the integrated performance of a vehicles hardware and any software in an operational environment. An operator must successfully verify the integrated performance of a vehicle’s hardware and any software in an operational flight environment before allowing any space flight participant on board. Verification must include flight testing.

Congress mandated these regulations in the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004. Recognizing that this is a fledgling industry, the law required a phased approach in regulating commercial human space flight, with regulatory standards evolving as the industry matures.

Page last modified: March 27, 2020 6:02:42 PM EDT