United Kingdom and FAA Sign Commercial Space Transportation Agreement

©U.K. Space Agency

File photo: U.K. Government Paves Way for Spaceport

The United Kingdom and U.S. are laying the groundwork for future agreements in the area of Commercial Space Transportation after signing a memorandum of cooperation.

The agreement was signed by the Federal Aviation Administration( FAA) and the United Kingdom's Department of Transportation (Dft), Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA).

In general the agreement would see cooperation on public safety, policy, commercial orbital and suborbital space transportation activities.

While the agreement has no binding legal effect, it does spell out five common areas of interest the respective agencies intend to cooperate in.

The first is to encourage the "free movement and operation of space transport vehicles between the U.S. and U.K., with a view to encourage, among other things, commercial transatlantic space travel."

The second would see the agencies "cooperate and assist each other in following the development of vehicles and compiling non-proprietary safety data relating to commercial space transportation. This to be without prejudice to any matters of national security, defence or national interest."

The third area would see the agencies "cooperate and assist each other in recovery of persons and vehicles involved in commercial space transportation. This to be without prejudice to any matters of national security, defence or national interest."

The fourth area would see the agencies "cooperate in the exchange of knowledge and to exchange ideas, information, and to collaborate on problems and projects of mutual interest."

Lastly the agencies "intend to cooperate in the development of United Kingdom safety regulations applied to commercial space transportation and promotion of industry standards. The principal objectives of this cooperation are to exchange ideas, information, and to collaborate on problems and projects of mutual interest."

The open ended agreement would also see joint organization of symposiums, workshops, conferences and working groups.

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