July 19, 2021. The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) opened a safety field office in Houston to increase its oversight of commercial space operations in Texas and New Mexico.
From this location, FAA inspectors will be able to more effectively and efficiently monitor the ongoing testing programs and commercial space tourism operations of SpaceX and Blue Origin in Texas and Virgin Galactic in New Mexico, along with others in the region. This is the latest action the FAA is taking to The FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation also is increasing the safety inspection staff, reorganized the office to improve efficiency and accountability and established an Office of Spaceports.
Last month, the FAA activated the Space Data Integrator capability that can track a space launch or reentry vehicle in near-real time as it travels through the National Airspace System. This new capability increased safety for all airspace users and assists the FAA in efficiently managing air traffic during space operations. In 2020, the FAA licensed 41 commercial space launches and reentries, and safely managed 45 commercial, civil and Department of Defense spa e operations into the National AirSpace System. For 2021, those numbers could exceed 60 and 70, respectively.
On a personal note, some people don't need to go through the training and pay a huge fee to go into space, they have arrived without even moving.