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Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Scaled Composites news: Feds Give Private Spaceship Go-Ahead to Expand Flight Testing
The Federal Aviation Administration’s Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation (FAA/AST) has given license approval to Scaled Composites of Mojave, California, permitting the firm to expand flight testing of SpaceShipOne -- a privately-financed rocket plane to carry passengers to suborbital altitude.
SpaceShipOne, built by Scaled Composites is being led by aircraft designer Burt Rutan, who heads the company. The rocket plane and its carrier mothership, the White Knight, were unveiled on April 18, 2003. Since that time, the craft has undergone extensive piloted glide tests and one powered flight.Rutan and his team of Scaled Composites engineers are vying for the $10 million X Prize purse. The competition is geared to advance routine suborbital passenger flight, as well as hasten the day of regular and, hopefully, low-cost orbital voyages of private citizens in the future.
Charles Kline, Jr., Special Assistant for FAA/AST External Affairs confirmed to SPACE.com that a launch license had been issued April 1: "We have issued a launch license today to Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites."AST's commercial space transportation licensing program is designed to ensure public health and safety through the licensing of commercial space launches and reentries, and the operation of launch sites.
Protection of public health and safety and the safety of property is the objective of AST's licensing and compliance monitoring/safety inspection processes.
The FAA/AST issues a license when it determines that an applicant's launch or reentry proposal or proposal to operate a launch site will not jeopardize public health and safety, safety of property, U.S. national security or foreign policy interests, or international obligations of the United States. FAA/AST does not license launches performed by and for U.S. government agencies. Read More
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