NTSB and FAA agree to lead space accident investigation

NTSB and FAA agree to lead space accident investigation

On Friday, two federal agencies agreed which would take the lead in investigating accidents in the nascent commercial space business, which includes launching tourists high above the Earth.

The National Transportation Safety Board will take the lead in investigating accidents that result in death or serious injury, or that create potentially fatal debris. The Federal Aviation Administration will look into other investigations.

Currently, the NTSB is the primary investigator for air crashes involving aircraft and other modes of transport, but does not have the authority to issue regulations. The FAA is the main regulator of aviation safety in the aviation industry.

The two agencies often disagree, usually when the safety board feels its advice is being ignored by the FAA.

The agreement, which was announced at NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston, is the first agreement signed by agency leaders in 22 years before human commercial spaceflight began. It also details how they will share information after the crash.

“This agreement is proof that the federal government can keep pace with the exciting advances happening in the private sector and still prioritize safety as we enter the new space age.”

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Florida on Thursday, February 3, 2022. (Craig Bailey/Florida Today via AP)

This is stated in a statement by NTSB Chairman Jennifer Homendy.

Licensed space launches have increased in recent years, including by operators such as SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin. They launched civilians into suborbital flights and put satellites into orbit.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

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