28 August 20231 minute read

FAA proposes rules on government astronauts flying on commercial space vehicles

On August 18, 2023, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking input, among other things, on proposed rules regarding government astronauts flying on commercial space vehicles, which has been a common occurrence since the commercialization of transportation services to the International Space Station.

The proposed rules are intended to remedy the current gap in the regulations requiring persons on spacecraft to be classified as either “crew” or “space flight participants” – neither of which is an appropriate characterization for a government astronaut.

While the NPRM is a targeted action with limited scope, it highlights the increasingly active role of US government agencies, such as the FAA, Department of Commerce, and Federal Communications Commission, in regulating space activities.

Additional information about the NPRM is available here. Comments to the NPRM are due October 17, 2023.

Parties interested in submitting comments regarding this or other space-related regulatory actions should contact any member of our Telecoms team.