From: Personal Spaceflight Federation
Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Spaceflight CEOs Meet, Respond to New Regulations, and Hammer out New Agenda
The Personal Spaceflight Federation (PSF), comprised of private, public and non-profit organizations working to make commercial human spaceflight a reality, has released details of recent developments and plans for future activities.
The PSF, formed in early 2005 after Congress's passage of the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act, is an industry association working to share best practices and expertise amongst its members in order to establish ever-increasing levels of safety for the burgeoning industry and to promote its growth worldwide. PSF members include spaceship developers and operators, spaceports, space destinations, and space transportation agents.
"The members have agreed on dues that have allowed us to begin hiring staff, building a website, and opening an office so we can forge ahead with addressing critical issues for this industry," explained PSF President Michael S. Kelly, who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization along with recently hired Executive Director John Gedmark.
Earlier this year, the aerospace CEOs who make up the membership of the PSF met to discuss how to respond to new regulations proposed by the FAA. This spring, the FAA proposed two new regulations addressing crew and spaceflight participant safety as well as the testing of rocket-powered vehicles under a new "experimental permits" regulatory regime.
"We were able to use the technical expertise of our industry and the practical experience of the businessmen who make up our membership to further bolster the effectiveness of these new rules while at the same time allowing our industry the flexibility needed to innovate, especially with regard to safety," explained Kelly.
"The Federation has made it clear that safety is their first concern. That is, and must always be, the vital link among all partners in the industry because it is the key to public confidence," commented Patti Grace Smith, Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation at the FAA.
A series of consensus positions reached during the PSF meetings have been quietly submitted to the FAA over the past few months. "For these aerospace industry players to agree on a single new course of action is significant, but for this group to hammer out more than 20 pages of consensus comments is truly remarkable," remarked Alex Tai, the Senior Vice President and head of operations for Virgin Galactic who represents Virgin Galactic on the board of the Personal Spaceflight Federation. "This really is a huge step forward for our industry."
After several meetings the members have also agreed on an agenda and set of priorities for the coming year, including:
Member Coordination - Sharing resources, best practices, and staff expertise when addressing issues common to PSF members and critical to the industry.
Government Interface - Working with Congress, the FAA, the State Department, and other Federal agencies to develop a legal and regulatory environment supportive of the growth of the commercial human spaceflight industry. Safety - Distributing best practices while working towards voluntary industry standards in areas such as spaceport operations, crew and passenger training, and vehicle manufacture, operations, and maintenance.
Liability Protection - Bolstering liability protection at state and Federal levels and developing standard materials in such areas as informed consent.
Insurance - Working with the insurance markets on behalf of member companies and informing the insurance industry about commercial spaceflight insurance needs and opportunities. Public Relations - Updating the media and general public with industry news, issues, and activities. For more information on the Personal Spaceflight Federation please visit: www.personalspaceflight.org
Personal Spaceflight Federation (PSF)
Ian Murphy, 310-689-6397
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