The future is here with spaceports cropping up across the United States as mankind prepares for more commercial, tourism and science in space.
In 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) licensed 41 commercial space operations (launches and reentries), the most in the agency’s history.
These launches, new streamlined launch and reentry licensing regulations, and a historic licensed crewed mission are some of the noteworthy commercial space transportation achievements of the FAA last year. The FAA will build on these accomplishments in the coming year.
“This record-setting year in launches, and the new streamlined launch and reentry licensing regulations, bode well for continued rapid growth of America’s commercial space sector,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
Those operations included a record 39 FAA-licensed launches, including the first-ever NASA crewed mission to be licensed by the FAA.
For 2021, the FAA is forecasting the number of licensed operations could reach 50 or more.
“The FAA is well positioned to keep pace with the dramatic increase in commercial space operations and support the innovation driven by the aerospace industry while keeping public safety a top priority,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.
Contributing to this year’s accomplishments are the benefits of a recent reorganization of the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation.
The changes increased the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the office, allowing it to dynamically scale its processes to meet the burgeoning private sector licensing demand.
The organizational changes will help the FAA implement a new rule that modernizes how the agency regulates and licenses commercial space launch and reentry operations.
The rule consolidates multiple regulatory parts to create a single licensing regime for all types of launch and reentry operations, replaces prescriptive requirements with performance-based criteria, and allows the aerospace industry to continue to innovate and grow.
In 2021, the FAA will continue to provide policies and guidance to support the streamlined licensing rule by publishing advisory circulars that will identify possible means of compliance.
Working with the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Council (COMSTAC), the FAA also will prioritize its other regulations for updates and streamlining. Additionally, the agency anticipates the private sector will make notable progress toward commercially viable space tourism.
In the coming year, the FAA also will continue to test new technologies to further enable the safe and efficient integration of space-vehicle operations with other types of air traffic in the National Airspace System.
Additionally, the FAA will establish an interagency working group to develop a recommended National Spaceport Strategy to advance a robust, innovative national system of spaceports.
An FAA license is required to conduct any commercial space launch or reentry, the operation of any launch or reentry site by U.S. citizens anywhere in the world, or by any individual or entity within the United States.
Once the FAA issues a license or permit, the agency works with operators to make sure they are meeting the requirements to conduct launches and reentries. This includes having FAA safety inspectors monitor licensed activities.
Raised in San Antonio, Jack Dennis’ early experiences were as a newspaper reporter and private investigator. With a Texas State University bachelor’s degree, Jack studied journalism, education and psychology. He was the founding vice-president of Sigma Delta Chi, the Association of Professional Journalists at the University. Jack has received numerous awards, including Investigative Reporter of the Year from Rocky Mountain Press Association, David Ashworth Community Award, and Leadership in Management.
Some of the people and groups Jack has interviewed include:
Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, George Strait, Roy Orbison, Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, Steve Wariner, Tanya Tucker, Scotty Moore, Fats Domino, Patty Page, Tommy Roe, Emmy Lou Harris, Johnny Rivers, Charly McClain, Kinky Friedman, John McFee, Guy Allison & Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) , Randy Bachman (BTO), Jim Messina, Todd Rundgren, Alvin Lee, Gary Puckett, The Ventures, Freddy Cannon, Augie Meyer, Christopher Cross, Whiskey Myers, Sha Na Na (John “Bowzer” Baumann), Flash Cadillac, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Darrell McCall, and more.
Politicians & News
George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Greg Abbott, Rudolph Giuliani, Larry King, Jack Anderson, Tom Bradley, Connie Mack, and more.
Clint Eastwood, Mike Myers, Taylor Lautner, Cameron Diaz, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Selena Gomez, Tippi Hedren, James Earl Jones, James Woods, Jim Nabors, Martha Raye, Rosalind Russell, June Lockhart, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Howie Mandel, Meg Ryan, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, James Drury, Melanie Griffith, Nathan Lane, Alan Thicke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clint Howard, Tony Sirico, Cesar Romero, Michael Berryman, Tracy Scoggins, William Windom, Warren Stevens and more.
Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Wally Schirra, Dave Scott, Gene Cernan, Walt Cunningham, Scott Carpenter, Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director), Ed Mitchell, Richard Gordon, Bruce McCandless, Vanentina Treshkova (first woman in space, Russia), Alex Leonov (first man to walk in space, Russian), Al Worden, Dee O’Hara (nurse to astronauts) and more.
Sports: Joe Torre, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes, Billie Jean King, Manuela Maleeva, Drew Pearson, Bob Lilly, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, George Gervin, Tony Parker, Shannon Miller, Cathy Rigby, Bruce Bowen, Wade Boggs, Fernando Valenzuela, Bernie Kosar, Dale Murphy, Jim Abbott, Dick Bartell, Mike Schmidt, Dan Pastorini and more.
May Pang, Bob Eubanks, Vernon Presley, Vester Presley, Charlie Hodge, Joe Esposito, Rick Stanley (Elvis’ step-brother, Harold Lloyd (Elvis’ first cousin), Doyle Brunson, Kara Peller, Hank Meijer, Norman Brinkler, Stanley Marcus, Jerry King, Mac King, Nathan Burton, Zach Anner, Louie Anderson, Owen Benjamin, Steve Byrne and more.
As head of Facilities for a major retailer (H-E-B Food/Drugs) for 20 years, Jack co-founded Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) and was elected President to establish PRSM magazine. Jack is a writer, speaker, golf-concierge and happiness coach. He has researched and studied happiness for over 40 years.
Jack was a prolific writer for Examiner.com, with over 1,900 articles written in six years. His articles and stories have appeared in AXS Entertainment, The ROWDY Country Music, Memphis Flash, and numerous magazines.
He is author of “Miracles of Justice,” a true courtroom drama novel about social injustice and miracles.