Navigating U.S. Commercial Space Regulations
Space Launch and Reentry Licenses (FAA-AST)
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation is the government entity responsible for regulating the safe operations of commercial space transportation. An FAA license is required for any launch or reentry, or the operation of any launch or reentry site, by U.S. citizens anywhere in the world, or by any individual or entity within the U.S. An FAA license is not required for space activities the government carries out for the government, such as some NASA or Department of Defense launches.
- FAA Commercial Space Transportation Regulations
- Commercial Space Transportation License FAQs
- Getting Started with Licensing – To help in the pre-application process, Commercial Space Transportation provides simple application checklists organizations may use when applying for a launch or reentry license, experimental permit, launch site operator license, or safety approval.
Commercial Remote Sensing Licenses (NOAA OSC/CRSRA)
Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs (CRSRA) is a division of NOAA’s Office of Space Commerce. CRSRA licenses and regulates the operation of private Earth remote sensing space systems, subject to the jurisdiction or control of the United States.
- NOAA/CRSRA Private Remote Sensing Regulations
- Commercial Remote Sensing License Application Guide
- Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs FAQs
- CRSRA Initial Contact Form – NOAA collects this information in order to determine any applicable requirements for your remote sensing space system under the National and Commercial Space Programs Act of 2010 and regulations. NOAA will use this information to assess whether a full license application would be required for a proposed satellite system.
Space Spectrum Licensing (FCC)
With limited exceptions, prior authorization from the Federal Communications Commission is required for satellite communications. The Commission’s licensing of space stations is “facilities-based,” meaning that the license is associated with a specific satellite. In the U.S. there is no license for use of spectrum that is separate from the FCC license to operate the space systems using the spectrum. The FCC does not license space stations already licensed by other countries. However, the FCC will grant non-U.S. licensed space stations access to the U.S. market through a process in which U.S.-licensed earth stations are authorized to communicate with non-U.S. licensed space stations
- Commercial (Non-Federal) Space Station Regulations
- Processing of Space Station Applications FAQ
- Space Station License and Market Access Checklist – The “Part 25” Commercial License and Market Access Checklist provides a list of the required elements of a part 25 application. This checklist contains links to document templates and examples, which are meant to aid applicants in ensuring they’ve met requirements and are more likely to have filed a “substantially complete” application that could be placed on Public Notice (PN) following application submission.