FAA Proposes New Spaceflight Rules

In a sign of the increasing viability of the growing commercial spaceflight industry, the Federal Aviation Administration released a new set of proposed rules Thursday covering commercial space flights. The proposed Human Space Flight Requirements for Crew and Space Flight Participants outlines specific requirements for crew training and qualifications, in addition to informed consent rules for spaceflight participants. The FAA said that the rules are specifically focused on encouraging, facilitating, and promoting space tourism, and specifically mention SpaceShipOne, the first manned private vehicle to reach space. The proposed rules include requiring that any pilot or remote operator of a launch vehicle must have a valid FAA pilot's certificate, meet medical certificate requirements, and meet certain training requirements, and requires that companies launching flights have a certain amount of liability insurance.