August 28, 2012
Credit: Credit: XCOR Concept
The FAA might not be prepared to craft safety regulations with the burgeoning commercial space industry, but it is reaching out to industry leaders for their views.
The regulatory agency’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee recently held the first of three teleconferences with industry representatives on the topic. Industry members were resistant to rules for safety that would be so high that they would block development of the marketplace at this early stage in its development.
“We cannot develop a successful commercial industry by maintaining our past practices in safety,” said Jeff Greason, president of XCOR Aerospace. “We have to do something better.”
He recommends that the FAA stick to identifying areas of risk and deciding whether and how industry could develop standards to mitigate those risks. Greason added that an “inform-consent regime” should be adopted to let customers decide whether certain missions could tolerate a certain type of risk.
The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 18 to tackle the question: “What should FAA oversight look like?”