KENNEDY SPACE CENTER — The U.S. Department of Transportation will take on a new initiative to streamline commercial space endeavors, Secretary Elaine Chao announced Wednesday on the Space Coast.

  • Dept. of Transportation to help streamline commercial space sector
  • National Aerospace Forecast calls for 56 launches every year by 2021
  • Chao says $292M will fund infrastructure improvements 
  • More Destination Space headlines

"The launch cadence will quicken," said the Secretary of Transportation to a crowd at the Kennedy Space Center. "The (Federal Aviation Administration) anticipates as many as 44 launches this year."

Chao understands how busy America's commercial space industry is now and where it will be soon. She says the FAA's National Aerospace Forecast calls for 56 launches every year by 2021.

Globally the value of the space industry as a whole is near $400 billion. But the American commercial space sector is working towards grabbing a larger share of that market — we've seen that over the past decade on the Space Coast.

Now the Department of Transportation is cutting red tape to help launch their goals into reality.

To make sure others besides Space X, ULA, and Blue Origin have the chance to join in, the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation is going through extensive reorganization.

"The new rule will greatly streamline the process and allow companies to use a single FAA license for multiple launches and from multiple launch sites," Chao said.

The new process also includes seaports, as they, like Port Canaveral, are now being used to bring in reusable rocket boosters from the ocean post-launches.

Chao says $292 million will fund infrastructure improvements to support space launch operations.

Former 45th Space Wing Commander General Wayne Monteith is the new FAA Associate Administrator of Commercial ​Space Transportation.

Monteith says the agency is working now to develop criteria commercial space companies must abide by to get a license to have launch operations.  This is especially important in the wake of the Space X capsule test issue last weekend.

"You had a catastrophic event on the pad, much like the Amos 6 incident in 2016. No one was injured," Monteith told Spectrum News. "And that's what we are about — public safety."

Chao said the new initiative involves partnering with schools like FIorida Institute of Technology, University of Florida, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to focus on regulatory streamlining that will advance commercial space research.