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UK GOVERNMENT REVIEW OF SPACEPLANE CERTIFICATION AND OPERATIONS Sally Evans Chief Medical Officer Civil Aviation Authority 10 November 2013. Background.

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UK GOVERNMENT REVIEW OF SPACEPLANE CERTIFICATION AND OPERATIONS Sally EvansChief Medical OfficerCivil Aviation Authority10 November 2013

  • The Government’s 2011 Plan for Growth stated it wants the ‘UK to be the centre for space tourism and will work with regulatory authorities to define regulations applicable for novel space vehicles that offer low cost access to space”
  • Space industry provides £7.5b to GDP, over 100,000 skilled jobs with 15% growth therefore strong support from the Minister for Universities and Science – Mr David Willetts.
  • Aug 2012 - request to CAA for review under S.16(1) of the Civil Aviation Act 1982
aims of the review
Aims of the Review
  • To assess extent to which UK can support safe space tourism/payload operations
  • To assess certification options (spaceplanes, engines)
  • To identify key characteristics of a spaceport
  • To assess advantages (other than tourism/satellites) for UK of spaceplane activities
  • Suborbital commercial space passenger flights
  • Suborbital carriage of scientific payloads
  • Spaceport facility


  • Single stage to orbit – passengers, satellites (UK –polar orbits) and cargo
  • Intercontinental very high speed transport
  • Rocket engine test facility
outline and timescale
Outline and Timescale
  • Started 1 April 2013 : Ends 31 March 2014
  • Framework
      • Legal
      • International
      • A/W, ATM,Airspace
      • Ops, Licensing, Medical
      • UAS
      • Environment
      • Spaceport
next steps
Next steps
  • Drafting process has commenced
  • High-level summary completed by end of March 2014.
  • Final technical report and recommendations expected to be complete to announce at Farnborough 2014.
progress so far
Progress so far
  • Project plan
  • Review team gathering information.
  • A government led team visit to USA
      • US regulatory framework
      • spaceplane and spaceport community.
  • Stakeholder events in April and July 2013:

- Reaction Engines, Astrium, XCOR, Booster Industries, Bristol Spaceplanes

faa ast
  • Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act (CSLAA) (2004) provides the legislation through which FAA-AST regulates space launches. This legislation is published on the FAA-AST website.
  • FAA-AST is only concerned with the protection of uninvolved public/third party safety and not directly with the vehicle occupants.
  • ‘Informed consent’ – info to public for assessment of risk
  • Regulation applies not only on US soil but to US operators worldwide.
  • Still very early in process: approx 216 vertical launches overseen by AST but only approx 4 spaceplane operations.
  • Wide experience orbital ops.
  • Moves to transfer Low Earth Orbit (LEO) ops and satellite insertion to the private sector.
  • Echoed FAA-AST view that a catastrophic event could lead to two outcomes: greater regulation or industry failure.
  • US has an extensive, shared resource range and infrastructure (NASA, FAA, DoD/USAF, NOAA, etc) - nothing comparable in the UK.
uk spaceport
UK Spaceport
  • Science payloads an important parallel operation to ‘tourism’.
  • Funding
  • Airspace corridor
  • Unpopulated area
  • Mixed space/aviation (commercial/general) use?
  • Horizontal and vertical launch capability?
  • Length of runway
virgin galactic
Virgin Galactic
  • Virgin Galactic operations due to start operations at Spaceport America 2014.
  • First flight test planned early next year.
  • Operations at Mojave and Kennedy Space Center.
  • Plan to achieve up to 4 flights per day.
swiss s3 space systems
Swiss S3Space Systems

EADS Astrium


  • UK or European legal framework (US has CSLAA 2004)
  • ICAO: Suborbital and Orbital Aircraft Study Group
  • EASA in loop: IR/AMC framework: regulates licensing of crew operating a/c registered in a MS or operated in EU by an EU operator.
  • Definitions: ‘rocket’, ‘space flight participant/passenger’, ‘spaceplane’, ‘space’
  • The US licensing methodology results in operations from near unpopulated locations like desert or over water.
regulatory framework
Regulatory Framework?
  • Pilot medical/training requirements
  • Cabin crew medical/training requirements
  • Passenger medical/training requirements
  • Unmanned spaceplane operators/‘remote pilots’
  • In flight medical assistance
  • Spaceport
  • FAA: Second Class airman certificate (pilot), operator assessment of pax/informed consent
  • EASA proposals: EU Class 1 (pilot), 2 (pax), 3 (operator), cabin crew
          • Safety standards – rocket engine reliability
          • No operational experience SoA ops
input to review
Input to review
  • All information gratefully received!
  • Iterative and interactive process
  • We need to represent stakeholder issues
  • Input from:
    • ESA, EASA
    • KCL, UCL, MoD
    • Individuals