FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation Information Collection: Experimental Permits and Customer Survey

Experimental Permits.  On June 19, 2017, the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation released a request for comment on its proposed renewal of its collection of information from applicants for experimental permits.  Written comments are due August 18, 2017.  As background, the FAA states:

14 CFR part 437 established requirements for the FAA’s authority to issue experimental permits for reusable suborbital rockets to authorize launches for the purpose of research and development, crew training and showing compliance with the regulations. The information collected includes data required for performing a safety review, which includes a technical assessment to determine if the applicant can launch a reusable suborbital rocket without jeopardizing public health and safety and the safety of property. This information collection requirement is intended for incorporating acquired data into the experimental permit, which then becomes binding on the launch or reentry operator.   The applicant is required to submit information that enables FAA to determine, before issuing a permit, if issuance of the experimental permit would jeopardize the foreign policy or national security interests of the U.S.

Customer Survey.  On June 19, the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation also released a request for comment on its proposed renewal of its customer service survey.  This does not mean that AST is conducting the survey now, only that it is asking the Office of Management and Budget to renew a previously approved “information collection,” which is the technical term for the survey itself.  Written comments on the survey are due August 18, 2017.

One might think that the ultimate customer is the public, that is, those persons the FAA protects from errant launch vehicles.  However, “customer” applies here to those entities required by force of law to obtain authorization from the FAA in the form of a license or permit, including launch and reentry operators and spaceports.

Topics for comment.  For either of the FAA information collections, the FAA says you may comment on:

Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for FAA’s performance; (b) the accuracy of the estimated burden; (c) ways for FAA to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information collection; and (d) ways that the burden could be minimized without reducing the quality of the collected information.