British government works closely with FAA to finalize commercial launch regulations

During a July 22 webinar by the U.K. Space Agency, government officials mentioned that they were finalizing an estimated 900 pages of regulations that will cover licensing and oversight of launch vehicles and launch sites.

British government works closely with FAA to finalize commercial launch regulations
British government works closely with FAA to finalize commercial launch regulations

British government works closely with FAA to finalize commercial launch regulations

As reported by SpaceNews, The British government will soon release a set of regulations in order to allow companies to perform commercial launches from spaceports in the country. During a July 22 webinar by the U.K. Space Agency, government officials mentioned that they were finalizing an estimated 900 pages of regulations that will cover licensing and oversight of launch vehicles and launch sites.

Paul Cremin, commercial spaceflight and regulation policy lead at the Department for Transport, stated that it is now the prime piece of legislation needed to launch anything from the U.K. He also said that the regulations will cover “everything that prospective spaceport operators and launch operators will require” to carry out commercial launch activities in the U.K., including but not limited to include licensing requirements, environmental consideration, liability and insurance requirements, security, and the accident investigation process.

He said that it is a wealth of material that has taken a good two years to pull together and it amounts to something like a mammoth 900 pages of material that they’ll be unleashing very soon. Cremin said British government has worked closely with the Federal Aviation Administration within the us . They believe that the cooperation will reduce the regulatory burden for any U.S. vehicles that seek to launch from the U.K., although those launches will still need an FAA launch license additionally to any U.K. government license.

He said that the regulations that they’ve been drafting have been drafted with completely commercial outcomes and a commercial market from the outset. Despite the differences between the U.S. and U.K. regulations, Cremin said that they were in early discussions with the FAA on establishing a “mutual recognition” system for each other’s licenses, but it might be a longer term ambition.

Andrew Kuh, head of international spaceflight policy at the U.K. Space Agency, said that it is a huge step forward for the U.K. Kuh acknowledged that the agreement will impose some “operational overhead” on spaceport operators, like establishing segregated areas for American vehicles with access control. U.S. companies also will still got to obtain export licenses to work their vehicles from the U.K.

Virgin Orbit, is likely to be the first company, to make use of that agreement, and perhaps the broader British launch regulations. David Oxley, director of business growth for Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said in a statement about approval of the spaceport plans that, part of their ambition is to create the world’s most low-carbon space center, and the conditions applied to the planning approval will help them make that a reality.