FAA Expand COMSTAC Membership, Names Gold as Chairman

November 20 (FAA PR) –– The Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation has added eight new members to its Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) to provide recommendations about the agency’s oversight and regulation of the commercial space transportation industry.

In addition to the new appointments, FAA has also announced that Michael N. Gold will serve as the new chairperson of COMSTAC.  Gold is currently Bigelow Aerospace’s director of D.C. Operations and Business Growth.


CSF President Named Vice-Chair of FAA Advisory Panel

Michael Lopez-Alegria

Washington D.C. (CSF PR) – On Monday, November 19, the Federal Aviation Administration Office of Commercial Space Transportation announced that Michael Lopez-Alegria, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation would be the vice-chair of the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC).

COMSTAC provides information, advice and recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration on all matters related to U.S. commercial space transportation.


FAA Plans Public Telecons on Commercial Space Regulations

 FAA Commercial Space Transportation
Advisory Committee Teleconferences


Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
1 p.m. EDT

Length: Approximately 1 hour


The purpose of these three teleconferences is to assist the FAA early in its development of regulations to protect occupants of commercial suborbital and orbital spacecraft. Although the FAA has not yet targeted a date for proposing regulations to protect the health and safety of crew and space flight participants, the FAA believes that the development of sound and appropriate regulations for human space flight can only be achieved with a deliberate, multi-year effort. Moreover, the FAA believes that early industry input into this regulatory effort before any formal proposal by the FAA is critical.


Bolden: “Good Old-Fashioned American Competition” Key to Commercial Space Industry

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden

“The key to achieving our goal of facilitating a strong commercial space industry is adequate funding and good old-fashioned American competition. We are working hard to maintain both. NASA’s 2013 request for commercial crew development is $830 million. Despite a bi-partisan agreement to ensure American astronauts are traveling into space on U.S. built spacecraft as soon as possible, some want to short-change this job-creating initiative and limit competition in the commercial space arena.

“I think we all agree: competition is a basic tenet of American democracy and the very cornerstone of America’s technological excellence. Competition promotes innovation. Competition enhances our ability to identify the absolute best commercial partners. Ending competition by down-selecting to a sole commercial space company could double the cost of developing a privately built human spaceflight system and it will leave us in the same position we find ourselves today – having only one option for getting our astronauts to the space station. We are hopeful we can work to resolve these issues and keep this important initiative on track.

We are on the brink of a milestone moment in NASA space history, all part of a long-term strategy that will create well paying, high quality jobs here in America. With your help, we are making progress, and we intend to stay on track.”

— Charles Bolden
Remarks to the FAA Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC)
May 10, 2012

You can read his full remarks after the break.


Export Control Reform Panel Discussion in DC on Thursday

Here are some additional details on the FAA COMSTAC Working Groups meetings being held later this week. The event is free and open to the public.

EVENT:  Export Control Reform Panel Discussion- Brian Nilsson, National Security Council Professional Staff Member, will provide a briefing on the Administration’s current export control reform plans and strategy.  Also participating in the panel will be Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) an important voice on Capitol Hill on the topic of export control reform, and Remy Nathan, Vice President for International Affairs at the Aerospace Industries Association, who will provide the business perspective.

The panel discussion will begin promptly at 8:30 am on Thursday, Oct. 13th, at the National Housing Center, located at 1201 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC (near the intersection of Massachusetts Ave. and 15th Street).

This panel discussion should provide attendees with invaluable insight into the latest in the ongoing export control reform effort and the likely Congressional reaction to the Obama Administration’s most recent plans.  The event is free and open to the public.  For more information please contact Mike Gold at mgold@bigelowaerospace.com or by phone at (240) 235-6016.  The panel discussion will not be streamed or webcast.

FAA COMSTAC Meeting Agendas

COMSTAC Working Group Meeting Schedule
October 13, 2011

COMSTAC Working Group meetings will take place at the National Housing Center, 1201 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005. The COMSTAC meetings will be in Rooms A, B, and C.

 Time Session
8:00 am – 10:00 amExport Controls Working Group
Michael Gold, Chair
Director, D.C.Operations & Business Growth
Bigelow Aerospace
10:00 am-12:00 pmSpace Transportation Operations Working Group
Debra Facktor Lepore, Chair
DFL Space LLC/ Stevens Institute of Technology
12:00 noon – 1:00 pmLunch – On Your Own
1:00 pm – 3:00 pmRLV Working Group
Brett Alexander, Chair
3:00 pm – 5:00 pmRisk Management Working Group
Christopher Kunstadter, Co-Chair, XLInsurance
Janet Sadler, Co-Chair, Chartis Insurance UK Limited

Federal Aviation Administration
Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee Public Meeting

National Housing Center, 1201 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005
October 14, 2011
8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Preliminary Meeting Agenda

Time Session
8:00 am – 8:30 am Coffee
8:30 am – 8:40 amWelcome/Opening Remarks
Mr. Will Trafton
President, Will Trafton and Associates, LLC
8:40 am – 9:00 amRemarks
Dr. George C. Nield
Associate AdministratorFAA/ Office of Commercial Space Transportation
9:00 am – 9:35 amSpeaker
Mr. Sean Monogue
Chair, Missile Technology Export Control Group
Office of Missile, Biological, and Chemical Nonproliferation (ISN/MBC)
U.S. Department of State 
9:35 am – 9:45 amBreak 
9:45 am – 10:20 am Speaker
Mr. Joseph C. Parrish
Office of the Chief Technologist, NASA
10:20 am – 10:50 amRisk Management Report
Mr. Christopher Kunstadter
Vice President, XL Insurance
10:50 am – 11:20 amSpace Transportation Operations Report
Ms. Debra Facktor Lepore
DFL Space LLC / Stevens Institute of Technology
11:20 am – 12:20 pmLunch 
12:20 pm – 12:45Suborbital Characterization Report
Ms. Kate Maliga
Program Manager, Tauri Group 
 12:45 pm – 1:15 pm Speaker
Mr. Philip McAlister
CCT Program Executive, NASA 
1:15 pm – 1:25 pmBreak 
1:25 pm – 1:55 pmReusable Launch Vehicles Report
Mr. Brett Alexander
1:55 pm – 2:25 pmExport Controls Report
Mr. Michael N. Gold
Director, D.C. Operations & BusinessGrowth
Bigelow Aerospace 
2:25 pm – 2:45 pmNew Business
Mr. Will Trafton
2:45 pm – 3:10 pmPublic Comment Period/Open Discussions
Mr. Will Trafton
Mr. Jim Van Laak
Deputy Associate Administrator
FAA/Office of Commercial Space Transportation
3:10 pm – 4:00 pmClosed Session

FAA COMSTAC Meeting Agenda Released

Federal Aviation Administration
Commercial Space Transportation
Advisory Committee Public Meeting

National Housing Center
1201 15th Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
Thursday, October 7, 2010
8:00 am – 4:00 pm

The proposed agenda for this meeting will feature discussions on:

  • Orbital debris and related issues;
  • The issues the working groups propose to address; and
  • The role of commercial space as part of the United States’ Space


FAA COMSTAC Presentations Online


The FAA has posted presentations given at this week’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee meeting. I haven’t had time to parse them yet, but take a look if you are interested.

Operationally Responsive Space (MS PowerPoint) — Dr. Peter Wegner

2009 COMSTAC Commercial GSO Demand Forecast (MS PowerPoint) — Kevin Reyes

2009 Commercial Space Transportation Non-GEO Forecast (MS PowerPoint) — Ken Davidian

Risk Management Working Group Report — Christopher Kunstadter

Export Controls Working Group Report (MS PowerPoint) — Michael N. Gold

Reusable Launch Vehicles Working Group Report (MS PowerPoint) — Bretton Alexander

Space Transportation Operations
(MS PowerPoint) — Robert Davis

FAA Seeks to Get World to Adopt its Commercial Space Regulatory Approach

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration should work to get the international community to adopt its largely hands-off regulatory approach toward the developing commercial launch and space tourism markets, a key oversight group was told last month.

John Sloan of the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation told the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) that it is in America’s best interest to promote the agency’s approach worldwide. In his presentation, he said it is:


Google Lunar X Prize Preferred Providers Offer Variety of Discounts

I’ve got the skinny on the various discounts that preferred providers are offering for the Google Lunar X Prize:

  • SpaceX : 10% Discount on all Falcon LVs
  • Universal Space Networks: Offering 50% discount on communication services (passes) for the spacecraft while in transit to the Moon and for 30 Earth Days of operations on the lunar surface.
  • SETI: Free downlink services through the Allen Telescope Array
  • Space Florida: $2M Bonus Prize if winner launches from Florida
  • AGI: Free seat license for STK (>$150,000 value).

This comes courtesy of X Prize Foundation Executive Director Bretton Alexander, who made a presentation to the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) on October 30.