Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
Compliance Date: Affected parties, however, do not have to comply with the information collection requirements in SSSS 460.5, 460.7, 460.9, 460.19, 460.45, and 460.49 until the FAA publishes in the
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The FAA's authority to issue rules on commercial space transportation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Codes, section 322(a), which authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to carry out Subtitle IX, Chapter 701, 49 U.S.C. 70101-70121 (Chapter 701). The Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004 (the CSLAA) provides additional authority. Under 49 U.S.C. 70105(b)(4), no holder of a license or permit may launch or reenter crew unless the crew has received training and satisfied medical or other conditions specified in a license or permit, all in accordance with FAA regulations. This rulemaking imposes crew qualification and training requirements and implements the statutory requirement that an operator advise the flight crew and any space flight participant that the U.S. Government has not certified the launch vehicle as safe. Section 70105(b)(5) directs the FAA to promulgate regulations requiring that the holder of a license or permit inform each space flight participant in writing about the risks of launch or reentry.
9. Smoke Detection and Fire Suppression
On December 23, 2005, the FAA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), “Human Space Flight Requirements for Crew and Space Flight Participants” 70 FR 77261 (Dec. 29, 2005), which discusses the background of the CSLAA and the nascent human space flight industry. The NPRM also discusses the safety considerations underlying the FAA's proposed requirements and each alternative that the agency considered.
In the CSLAA, Congress also directed the FAA to issue guidelines or advisory materials to guide the implementation of the law as soon as practical, and to promulgate requirements governing experimental permits. On February 11, 2005, the FAA issued “Draft Guidelines for Commercial Suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicle Operations with Flight Crew” and “Draft Guidelines for Commercial Suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicle Operations with Space Flight Participants.” On March 31, 2006, the FAA published an NPRM, “Experimental Permits for Reusable Suborbital Rockets.” 71 FR 16251.
In this final rule, the FAA changes parts 401, 415, 431, 435 and 440 of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations and establishes a new part 460 in response to the CSLAA's requirement to issue regulations governing crew and space flight participant, by June 23, 2006. Revisions in part 440 codify the financial responsibility and risk allocation regime for activities authorized by a permit and for crew and space flight participants. These requirements supplement other launch and reentry regulations, including those in parts 415, 431, and 435. For example, part 431 governs reusable launch vehicle operations, and contains system safety and risk requirements and operational constraints. An operator of a reusable launch vehicle with a person on board must comply with this rule and part 431.
Part 460 applies to anyone applying for or having a license or permit under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) Chapter III, who conducts a flight with crew or space flight participants on board a vehicle, or employs a remote operator of a vehicle with a human on board.
The FAA received comments from forty-two entities, including aerospace companies, associations, service providers, individuals and other agencies of the U.S. Government. Operators of launch and reentry vehicles who provided comments include Blue Origin, LLC (Blue Origin), the Personal Spaceflight Federation
In general, the commenters supported the proposed requirements, but with several suggested changes.
The Federation recommended that the FAA consider allowing means of compliance other than those identified in the regulations. In part 460, the FAA will allow an operator to demonstrate that an alternative method of compliance for certain requirements provides an equivalent level of safety and satisfies the rule. The FAA notes that many of the requirements of this part are performance standards that already offer operators a great deal of flexibility. Where a requirement is prescriptive, such as when the FAA requires a pilot certificate, the FAA does not contemplate approving alternatives through the license or permit process unless the requirement explicitly allows alternatives. As the Federation noted, the FAA also has the ability to grant waivers under 14 CFR 404.3. If an operator wishes to pursue a course that is not consistent with the requirements of part 460, the operator must apply for a waiver.
Subpart A of part 460 applies to the flight crew and any remote operator. The only ground crew covered is a remote operator.
The FAA is retaining the definition of crew required by the CSLAA, that is, any employee of a licensee, transferee, or permittee, or of a contractor or subcontractor of a licensee, transferee, or permittee, who performs activities in the course of that employment directly relating to the launch, reentry, or other operation of or in a launch vehicle or reentry vehicle that carries human beings. As proposed in the NPRM, a crew consists of flight crew, crew on board a vehicle during a launch or reentry, and any remote operator. Also, crew members may be independent contractors as well as employees. As it explained in the NPRM, the FAA defines crew to include all personnel on board, namely the flight crew, as part of the crew, and thus give a broader meaning to crew than one consisting only of a pilot or remote operator. Because Congress contemplated operation of
Commenters raised a number of questions regarding the definition of crew. With the exception of those related to the requirement for a second-class airman medical certificate, they are addressed here.
Blue Origin requested that the FAA clarify the definition of remote operator to ensure the exclusion of persons on the ground from the definition of crew. Blue Origin recommended that the FAA clarify that “control” means navigation and control of the vehicle, rather than merely being in the chain of command. Blue Origin's clarification would preclude someone who initiated a launch or an abort from being considered part of the crew. Blue Origin reasoned that launch decisions will often be made by a launch director after receiving input from all groups, including air traffic control.
As explained in the NPRM, a remote operator is someone who actively controls the vehicle, and does more than initiate or abort a launch in progress. Active control encompasses navigation as well as control. A mission flight control officer in charge of terminating the flight of an errant expendable launch vehicle would not be treated as a remote operator because he or she does not have the ability to control, in real time, the vehicle's flight path. Accordingly, the FAA does not need to adopt Blue Origin's suggestion.
Predesa suggested expanding ground crew to include “specialists who monitor and maintain vehicle systems via telemetry” as they may assist a remote operator or pilot, and provide information or modify the operations of vehicle systems during flight. Predesa recommended that these personnel possess FAA flight engineer certification or FAA pilot certification. Predesa does not believe that persons who are not on board should be subjected to lesser standards merely because of their location.
The FAA has decided against expanding the definition because the personnel, even though not covered under part 460 if not on board the launch or reentry vehicle, will be subjected, during the license or permit process, to the standards appropriate to their roles. For example, an applicant proposing a reusable launch vehicle mission would have to meet part 431, which requires that a licensed operator implement a system safety process and operational restrictions and satisfy risk requirements. As part of the system safety process, personnel on the ground will receive training to carry out their roles safely, and it is through this training that the personnel on the ground will be held to standards appropriate to their roles. As part of the proposed requirements for obtaining an experimental permit, the FAA intends to require an applicant conduct a hazard analysis. Human error issues and training of ground personnel would be addressed through this analysis. Also, part 431 requirements address the readiness of vehicle safety operations personnel to support flight under nominal and non-nominal conditions.
The FAA defines flight crew to mean crew that is on board a vehicle during a launch or reentry. The crew aboard the aircraft are already covered by existing FAA regulations. Thus, new terms such as spacecraft pilot are not necessary to distinguish between aviation and space flight crew.
For public safety reasons, the FAA will not allow space flight participants to pilot launch or reentry vehicles at this time. A space flight participant who wants to pilot a launch or reentry vehicle would have to become an employee or independent contractor of the operator to acquire vehicle and mission-specific training. The operator will be in a better position to evaluate the skills of an employee or independent contractor than of a space flight participant, particularly as those skills relate to the requirements of the operator's particular vehicle. The FAA acknowledges that this restriction may create a dilemma for someone who wishes to acquire training in order to become employed, but, while the technology is so new, it is important for public safety that pilots be highly skilled at the outset.
The FAA has the authority to protect crew. Spaceport Associates questioned the FAA's authority to protect crew when it commented that the FAA should not implement design requirements to protect crew, particularly in light of the requirement to notify crew members that a vehicle has not been certified as safe. The commenter observed, in effect, that the FAA was limited to protecting the general public. Under the CSLAA, the FAA has the authority to protect the crew because they are part of the flight safety system that protects the general public.
As proposed in the NPRM, § 460.5 requires a pilot of a launch or reentry vehicle to possess and carry an FAA pilot certificate with an instrument rating. The FAA invited public comment on the proposed requirement and received differing views.
Some commenters considered the requirement too lenient. TGV suggested that a pilot certificate might only partially address the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for safety. TGV recommended that, in addition to a pilot certificate, the FAA require test pilot credentials or military supersonic experience for single piloted suborbital and orbital vehicles. Because having a pilot certificate may not be sufficient, § 460.5(c)(2) requires aeronautical experience and skills necessary to pilot and control the vehicle.
The Federation and Planehook agreed with the requirement for a pilot to have an instrument rating because, as Planehook commented, the trajectory of a vehicle will pass through Class A airspace at least twice. ALPA also agreed that the pilots or flight crew, including any remote operators acting under part 460, should be certificated.
Focusing on a possible exception to the utility of requiring a pilot certificate, Mr. Nickolaus Leggett recommended against requiring pilots and remote operators of launch vehicles that do not have aircraft characteristics to possess an FAA pilot certificate with an instrument rating. He pointed out that a strictly ballistic suborbital vehicle consisting of a capsule and parachute does not require conventional piloting skills at all. Similarly, Starchaser recommended not requiring a pilot certificate at all and relying only on the performance requirement that a pilot possess the necessary skills and experience for the vehicle. An Air Force member of the Common Standards Working Group (CSWG)
The FAA requires a pilot certificate so that a pilot of a reusable launch vehicle has a basic level of aeronautical experience, an understanding of the National Airspace System (NAS), and an understanding of the regulatory requirements under which aircraft in the NAS operate, including cloud clearance requirements and airspace restrictions. This awareness will enhance overall safety of the NAS, regardless of whether a vehicle has wings. An instrument rating should ensure that pilots of launch and reentry vehicles have acquired the skills of scanning cockpit displays, correctly interpreting the instruments, and responding with correct control inputs. The FAA expects that regardless of the kind of vehicle used, there will be times when a pilot will be relying on instrument skills and competency. Having a pilot certificate and aeronautical experience provides evidence of a basic level of knowledge of and experience with the NAS, such as communications, navigation, airspace limitations, and other aircraft traffic avoidance, that will help promote public safety.
Planehook commented that a pilot or remote operator of a vehicle should have a commercial pilot certificate appropriate to the type of vehicle flown. The FAA's guidelines contain such a recommendation. The FAA did not, however, propose in the NPRM to implement this guideline as a requirement. The FAA did not specify the particular kind of pilot certificate required nor what category, class, type or instrument ratings are needed because different operators are proposing vehicles of varied and unique designs. The pilot certification is not directly transferable from aircraft to launch or reentry vehicles. Rocket-powered vehicles do not operate as aircraft. As Mr. Leggett noted, even for a more manually controlled ballistic vehicle, the skills required differ from those of an aircraft pilot.
The FAA recognizes the validity of these comments. Accordingly, the agency is adopting a performance requirement, § 460.5(c)(2), that requires a pilot and remote operator to possess aeronautical experience and skills necessary to pilot and control the vehicle for any launch or reentry vehicle that will operate in the NAS. To avoid overly burdening the industry, and in recognition of the diverse range of vehicles proposed, the FAA does not require an RLV pilot to hold a pilot certificate for a specific category of aircraft or to have a specific instrument rating on that certificate.
Section 460.5 requires a remote operator to possess and carry a pilot certificate with an instrument rating. Section 460.5(c)(1)(iii), however, allows an operator to demonstrate through the license or permit process that an alternative approach provides an equivalent level of safety. In the NPRM, the FAA invited public comment on the proposed requirement that a remote operator of a launch or reentry vehicle with a human on board possess an FAA pilot certificate with an instrument rating and that he or she demonstrate the knowledge of the NAS necessary to operate the vehicle.
Predesa questioned whether it was safe to allow remote operators at all. Predesa pointed out that remote operation of a vehicle could lead to concerns over the security and integrity of telemetry from the vehicle and of the commands sent to control the vehicle. Predesa recommended redundancy in the communications channel or on-board back up in the form of a trajectory controller or, preferably, a pilot on board. James Snead also recommended that a pilot be on board because there is no precedent for flight without one.
The FAA notes that there is precedence for permitting remote operators to control a vehicle. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are already operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the military services, and authorized by the FAA. The FAA will address whether the operators can sufficiently control a vehicle through the license or permit process on a case-by-case basis. The safety issues, such as those raised by Predesa, will also be addressed in that process.
The Federation and Starchaser recommended against requiring remote operators to possess pilot certificates at all, let alone with an instrument rating. The Federation recommended that remote operators still demonstrate knowledge, albeit with wide latitude, of the NAS and the deconfliction of airspace necessary to safely operate the vehicle. The Federation claimed the variety of possible vehicles and control schemes renders unnecessary a requirement that remote operators possess a pilot's certificate. According to the Federation, operators can and should be allowed to demonstrate their knowledge of the NAS in other ways, such as by written test. The Federation noted that John Carmack of Armadillo
One commenter, t/Space, suggested that in some instances, remote operation of a launch or reentry vehicle with a human on board may provide backup command and control of the vehicle if the pilot or flight crew is incapacitated or otherwise unable to function. When not intended for nominal flight operations, remote operation from the ground is likely to be limited to execution of pre-planned flight, reentry, or abort scenarios. According to t/Space, the remote operator in these situations would not require the same level of knowledge and experience as a pilot with an instrument rating.
The FAA acknowledges that there may be a variety of vehicle types and control schemes, such as back up remote operators that may be used. Accordingly, for a remote operator, the FAA will allow an operator to demonstrate that something other than a pilot certificate provides an equivalent level of safety.
Section 460.5(e) requires that each crew member with a safety-critical role possess and carry an FAA second-class airman medical certificate issued in accordance with 14 CFR part 67
Requiring a medical certificate only for crew with a safety-critical role marks a change from the NPRM, where the FAA proposed that all crew members, regardless of whether they were safety-critical, possess and carry such a certificate.
Several commenters, including ALPA, generally concurred with the FAA that requiring medical certification is appropriate, particularly for those crew members whose duties are associated with operation of the launch or reentry vehicles. Several suggested that it may not be necessary for all crew members. Planehook and David J. Sullivan-Nightengale commented that a second-class medical certificate was appropriate for the pilot but unnecessary for other crew members. The Federation, t/Space, and XCOR asked the FAA to reconsider requiring a second-class medical certificate for non-safety-critical crew on the grounds that it would be impractical and unnecessary. The Federation claimed that where a regulatory requirement does not respond to a real need, it can negatively impact a flight test. XCOR commented that members of a rocket engine development team will likely serve as flight test engineers on some test flights to permit them to observe engine operation in real time and possibly to adjust parameters of the propulsion system in flight. According to XCOR, these operations are not safety-critical because the flight is aborted if the flight test engineer is incapacitated, and the worst case effect is the loss of some data from that flight.
Blue Origin commented that a person should not be required to have a second-class medical certificate if he or she is only involved in pushing an ignition button or initiating an abort of a vehicle experiencing non-nominal telemetry. TGV Rockets recommended against medical certification for remote operators.
Under today's rule, crew members must complete training on how to perform their duties on board or on the ground so that the vehicle will not harm the public. They also must complete training to be able to perform duties in emergency operations or abort scenarios. Crew members who are not medically stable likely would not be able to meet training or performance requirements.
The FAA agrees that requiring second-class medical certification for crew members who do not perform safety-critical functions is unnecessary. There may be missions when a flight attendant or flight test engineer has duties that would not affect public safety. The FAA, however, anticipates that there may be missions when a flight attendant or flight test engineer does have a safety critical role. Rather than specifying which crew members must have a medical certificate, the FAA requires that only crew members who have a safety-critical role must possess and carry a second-class airman medical certificate.
Jonathan Goff suggested that alternatives to the second-class medical be accepted if they demonstrate an equivalent level of safety. The FAA has decided against this approach because a demonstration of equivalence would likely require the same level of examination and information as a medical certificate. The most straightforward approach is to obtain a second-class medical certificate.
The FAA proposed requiring a second-class medical certificate so that crew members would demonstrate a basic level of health within 12 months of launch or reentry. Recognizing that second-class medical certification is insufficient for spaceflight, the FAA is also establishing a performance
As proposed in the NPRM, § 460.5(a)(1) requires each member of a crew to complete training on how to carry out his or her role on board or on the ground so that the vehicle will not harm the public. Section 460.7 requires an operator to train each member of its crew and define standards for successful completion in accordance with § 460.5. The FAA received comments on hours of training, simulator training, and the training standard itself.
Starchaser recommended a minimum number of hours of training, but did not provide its reasons for this suggestion. Depending on the role the crew members will have, different amounts of training will be necessary for a crew member to learn his or her role. The FAA will evaluate this need on a case-by-case basis during the license and permit process.
Section 460.5(c)(3) requires a pilot and a remote operator to receive vehicle and mission-specific training for each phase of flight by using a simulator, a similar aircraft, flight testing, or an equivalent method. Mr. Leggett commented that because development of a vehicle would likely include a significant amount of simulation, the FAA should require simulator training. The benefit would be that training could take place in a safe environment. Dii commented that simulator training should be mandatory because realism is critical. Dii noted that a pilot needs to be able to deal with simulator sickness and spatial disorientation.
The FAA does not require the use of simulators in all circumstances because simulators may not exist for all the proposed vehicles. While the use of simulators is recommended, the FAA intends to maximize the training approaches that are acceptable by allowing methods of training other than simulators.
The FAA notes that some simulators intended for aircraft may be used for different launch or reentry vehicles. Section 460.7(b) requires that an operator ensure that either the crew-training device used to meet the training requirements realistically represents the vehicle's configuration and mission or the operator has informed the crew member being trained of the differences. Predesa took issue with this proposed requirement, noting that just because an operator knows of differences between the systems, does not mean that the operator can describe those differences and train crew accordingly. Such training may be possible with data available from vehicle flight tests, but, without such data, Predesa recommended that operators remind the crew of the experimental nature of flight. This is sound guidance that is already encompassed within the requirement.
Alteon Training, L.L.C. (Alteon) observed that requiring that “an operator must train each member of its crew and define standards for successful completion” could be interpreted to mean that only the operator could conduct the required training. According to Alteon, an operator should have the ability to arrange with an approved training provider for the development of training programs. Alteon further commented that the operator would have the responsibility for oversight of the training provider to ensure that the training satisfied the FAA's regulatory requirements. The FAA agrees that an operator can have a contractor provide training, a concept that is already encompassed by § 460.7(a). Ultimately, however, it will be the responsibility of the operator to ensure that crew members are trained properly.
Section 460.7(d) also requires that an operator ensure that all required crew qualifications and training are current before launch and reentry. The NPRM proposed that an operator ensure currency prior to launch or reentry, but, as Predesa pointed out, this language incorrectly implied that an operator could postpone its currency check on a suborbital mission to just prior to reentry. Accordingly, the regulatory text has been changed to specify that currency checks be complete prior to a suborbital launch.
At various points in the crew training requirements, the FAA requires operators to meet certain requirements. For example, as discussed above, an operator must ensure training currency. Ms. Knutson commented that requiring an operator to “ensure” something may create a warranty at odds with the risky nature of space travel at this stage in its evolution. The FAA notes that requiring an operator to ensure to the FAA that an event does or does not take place identifies the purpose of a requirement in order to impose a flexible yet enforceable performance standard. When the regulations require an operator to satisfy a performance standard, the FAA requires that an operator demonstrate the means by which it would satisfy that standard in its application for a license or permit. Grant of authorization constitutes approval of that approach as one that the FAA thinks will ensure satisfaction of the intent of the performance requirement. It is then up to the operator to carry out its method of compliance as described in its application. Because a license requires that an operator amend its application when it would no longer be accurate, the method an operator describes in its application has the same legal effect as a prescriptive requirement.
As proposed in the NPRM, § 460.9 requires an operator to inform, in writing, any individual serving as crew that the United States Government has not certified the launch or reentry vehicle as safe for carrying flight crew or space flight participants.
Blue Origin commented on the logistical difficulties associated with the timing requirements. Blue Origin is concerned that the rule makes no provision for lawful notification when an existing employee is promoted or reassigned to a flight crew position. Section 460.9 requires that an operator provide the notification before entering into any contract or other arrangement to employ an individual. A promotion or reassignment would constitute such “other arrangement,” and the FAA expects an operator to inform the prospective crew member of the required notice prior to the person accepting the new assignment.
Predesa also commented that the FAA does not require the experience and background necessary for crew to identify design or operational flaws that would stop them from participating in a mission. Predesa appears to base this comment on a belief that the CLSAA asks the crew to accept the risk of space flight with full information. The FAA does not interpret the statute in this manner. Rather, the CSLAA and the FAA's attendant regulations impose a duty on a launch operator to inform crew of the absence of U.S. Government certification. Just as with a space flight participant, a crew member may not have the schooling and experience required to discern operational or design flaws. Part of the risk associated with the flights anticipated by this rule is the presence of unknown hazards. The notification requirement requires only that an operator inform the crew that risks exist, not that it identify all potential operational and design hazards.
Section 460.11 requires that an operator provide atmospheric conditions adequate to sustain life and consciousness for all inhabited areas within a vehicle. The operator or flight crew must monitor and control specific atmospheric conditions in inhabited areas or demonstrate through the license or permit process that an alternative means of compliance provides an equivalent level of safety. This requirement reflects a change from what the FAA proposed in the NPRM in that the FAA will now allow an alternative means of compliance.
Blue Origin suggested that the ECLSS requirements not be applied to short suborbital flights, such as those that are ten to twenty minutes. The FAA notes that the vehicle's atmospheric conditions have to last from the time the cabin is sealed from the external environment until it is opened. When humans are in a closed environment and dependent upon manmade life support systems, a failure to monitor or control the environment even for a short duration could lead to a loss of life or injury. The FAA also understands, however, that some of the atmospheric constituents and conditions may not change significantly in a short duration flight, and the ECLSS for a suborbital mission typically will not be as complex as one for an orbital mission. Therefore, the FAA will continue to require the operator or flight crew to monitor and control atmospheric conditions in inhabited areas but will allow the operator to show an alternate means of compliance that demonstrates an equivalent level of safety.
The FAA agrees with the Federation and Paragon that only control may be needed in some cases. Control of particulate contaminants in the atmosphere of inhabited areas is an example where the FAA would consider control without requiring monitoring. The passive control method commonly employed is to provide filters, especially high efficiency particulate air filters, for the cabin air return duct inlets. When used with a recirculation fan, filters effectively maintain low concentrations of particulate contaminants in the atmosphere for extended times, with neither rapid nor large changes during spaceflight operation. Consequently, monitoring of the atmospheric concentration of particulate contaminants may not be necessary, especially for a suborbital mission. In order to address these types of systems, the FAA will require the operator or flight crew to monitor and control atmospheric conditions in the inhabited areas as proposed in the NPRM, but will allow the operator to show an alternate means of compliance that will demonstrate an equivalent level of safety. This alternate means of compliance must be approved by the FAA through the license or permit process.
For example, carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere in inhabited areas should be monitored and controlled. A carbon dioxide (CO
Oxygen concentration in the atmosphere is another example of what must be monitored and controlled. Very low oxygen partial pressure constitutes a severe hazard, results in impaired judgment and ability to concentrate, shortness of breath, nausea, and fatigue, affecting the proper functioning of the crew, and so potentially results in catastrophic consequences. Control of oxygen concentration must be closed loop, with the automatic addition of oxygen depending upon the oxygen-measuring device indication.
Predesa requested that the ECLSS requirements be specifically applied to all normal, non-normal and emergency operations, to emphasize the need for secondary or backup environment systems or other means to preserve the atmospheric conditions for the crew. The FAA may find that redundancy is necessary on a case-by-case basis, depending on a particular design, to ensure the crew's ability to protect public safety. At this point, the only redundancies the FAA anticipates requiring for all designs are specified in the regulations, including the requirement for an adequate redundant or secondary oxygen supply for the flight crew.
ASE commented that the space environment offers unique environmental challenges, such as micro-meteorites and orbital debris. It noted dual seals will not address a hull breach by orbital debris. Although a low probability during suborbital flight, a hull breach is not impossible, and the risk dramatically increases during orbital flight due to the increased exposure time. ASE recommended that this and other space-unique hazards be addressed, at least during the licensing or permitting phase. The FAA acknowledges the potential for micro-meteorites and orbital debris, and notes that these details will surface through an applicant's hazard analysis and be resolved during the license or permit process.
• Severity of the hazards presented to humans;
• Likelihood for catastrophic or critical consequences of exposure;
• Potential for rapid changes in conditions;
• Potential for changes in conditions of large magnitude;
• Availability of practicable in-flight measurement techniques and devices;
• Access to emergency breathing equipment; and
• Mission duration.
The FAA plans to develop an ECLSS advisory circular or guidance document. This document will address some of the concerns and suggestions of the IASE and ISLAP. The IASE and ISLAP believe that it is premature for the FAA to issue regulations pertaining to ECLSS at this time. Instead, they believe it would make more sense for the FAA to issue guidelines and to refine such guidelines with industry input over time as operators gain experience. According to the IASE and ISLAP, at this time there is simply too much untested diversity of design and proposed operation for “one size fits all” regulation in environmental control and life support areas.
Section 460.13 requires an operator or crew to have the ability to detect smoke and suppress a cabin fire to prevent incapacitation of the flight crew. This requirement is adopted as proposed in the NPRM. Predesa inquired whether the FAA meant to imply that an operator could employ remote systems for fire detection and suppression. Predesa raised operational safety concerns regarding the security and integrity of telemetry to and from the vehicle. The FAA will address these issues during the license and permit process.
Section 460.15 requires an operator to take necessary precautions to account for human factors that can affect a crew's ability to perform safety-critical roles. The FAA received no comments on this requirement, and it is adopted as proposed in the NPRM.
Section 460.17 requires an operator to successfully verify the integrated performance of a vehicle's hardware and any software in an operational flight environment before allowing any space flight participant on board during a flight. Verification must include flight testing. Predesa requested clarification of this requirement, observing that the NPRM appeared to allow a space flight participant to be carried during first time flight testing in a different operational environment than what was tested. For example, an operator might flight test a reentry from a high altitude. Predesa inquired whether a space flight participant could board for the first flight test into a suborbital micro-gravity environment. The FAA expects that more than a single flight test will be required to verify the integrated performance of a vehicle. Because the FAA did not identify how much flight testing would be required, Starchaser commented that the requirement was open to subjective judgment and potential manipulation. The FAA believes that it would be premature at this time to specify the number of hours of flight testing needed given the variety of launch and reentry vehicle designs and concepts. The appropriate level of testing depends on many factors, including the vehicle's mission profile, operational restrictions, test and flight history, component and subsystem heritage, and design and operating margins. The FAA will initially determine the amount of verification and, specifically, flight testing of launch or reentry vehicles on a case-by-case basis through the license or permit process.
A space flight participant would not be allowed on an envelope expansion flight, that is, a space flight participant would not be allowed to be carried during first time flight testing in a different operational environment than what was tested.
Section 460.19 requires each member of a flight crew and any remote operator to execute a reciprocal waiver of claims with the Federal Aviation Administration of the Department of
James Snead commented that the FAA should require a professional engineer to prepare and approve an application for an FAA license to launch or reenter. Mr. Snead recommended this requirement as an alternate means to protect public safety where there is no government certification.
Subpart B establishes requirements for space flight participants on board a vehicle whose operator is licensed or permitted under this chapter. The subpart applies to a license or permit applicant, licensed or permitted operators and space flight participants.
Several commenters urged that the FAA establish requirements to protect space flight participants. Nicholas Leggett recommended that a pilot have at least one solo flight before transporting passengers. Starchaser advocated pressure suits for space flight participants. As the FAA noted in the NPRM, the CSLAA does not provide the authority to protect space flight participants except in certain circumstances. 49 U.S.C. 70105(c)); 70 FR at 77270. The CSLAA only allows the FAA to issue regulations restricting or prohibiting design features or operating practices that result in a human space flight incident or a fatality or serious injury to space flight participants during an FAA authorized flight until December 23, 2012. For the next six years, the FAA has to wait for harm to occur or almost occur before it can impose restrictions. Instead, Congress requires that space flight participants be informed o