WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration office charged with overseeing commercial space transportation is planning a reorganization that will seek the make the office more efficient, but could mean the end of some of its work promoting the industry.
Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced the planned restructuring of the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, or AST, in an April 24 speech in Florida about the growing commercial space industry, a talk that got little attention outside the state’s Space Coast region.
“Today I’m announcing that the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation is undertaking an extensive reorganization,” she said in her prepared remarks. That effort will be led by Wayne Monteith, a retired Air Force general who took over as associate administrator for commercial space transportation at the FAA in January.
“The office has performed well to date, but in order to prepare for the future it will be reconstituted under the leadership of General Monteith to maximize the efficiencies of the new streamlined rule,” she said. That “streamlined rule” is a reference to a notice of proposed rulemaking, formally published April 15, intended to revamp the process for obtaining commercial launch and reentry licenses.
Chao, though, offered ...