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Commercial Space

Paul Behan is the Article 114 Rep for Commercial Space integration.  

Background: Historically, space launch and reentry operations in the NAS occurred infrequently and were segregated from other operations by containing them within special activity airspace. These launch and reentry operations were conducted almost exclusively by federal agencies, originated from coastal sites, and air traffic was routed around the SAA to ensure public safety. Given their infrequency and high national priority there was little incentive to make these complex operations more efficient with respect to their effects on NAS efficiency and capacity. NASA and the DoD are no longer the only participants in space launch and reentry operations, there are numerous private companies now launching an increasing number of government and commercial missions into space, often from new places. New launch sites are being developed at inland sites, including dual-use facilities that host both space and traditional aviation operations. As the commercial space transportation industry evolves and becomes more prevalent in the NAS, the FAA must ensure regulatory compliance, create policies & procedures, and develop automation and decision support tools for ATC in order to fully integrate commercial space operations rather than segregate. 

The Space Data Integrator (SDI) 

The SDI MVP team is building out the needed test assets at the Tech Center to support FNTB requirements. They will now focus on Build 2 software development and planning a kick-off activity with the SpaceOps personnel in AJR-1800. TFMS equipment was installed in the ATCSCC Challenger Room, with final configuration updates from TFMS planned to be complete on 4/21/21. 

NAS Space Integration Capabilities (NSIC)  

The team continues to plan operational personnel engagement via the Collaborative Work Group being formed with NATCA to support requirements development of the JRC approved scope. The technical team is finalizing the review of the merged requirements in preparation for investment analysis. The NATCA/PMO Collaborative Work Group scoping document is nearing completion, solicitations for participants should begin soon. 

Acceptable Level of Risk (ALR) 

Two Document Change Proposals (DCP’s) to the 7110.64 and 7210.3 are in the 45-day management review period which will create the Debris Response Area (DRA) and Expedited Movement Area (EMA). The EMA will replace the Transitional Hazard Areas (THA) for launch and reentry activities and risk exposure limits will be based on time limitations, not angular restrictions. The DRA replaces Refined Hazard Areas (RHA’s) and will only be activated if there should be a debris generating event in the NAS. Both volumes of airspace will have accompanying ATC procedures. One significant item still unresolved is the ability to provide ATC services at airports that underly an EMA. Under current ALR procedures, ATC services will not be provided at airports which underly a THA. A “next steps” meeting has been scheduled to discuss the MITRE safety/risk analysis.  

ALR Training 

 Due to the number and extent of the changes being proposed to ALR, the 2019 eLMS course will need to be modified to reflect the new procedures. Since there are several aspects which may change with varying timeframes, we have agreed to supplement the existing eLMS with a post-course “delta briefing” which will cover any changes to the material just covered. This briefing is meant to be a temporary fix until all ALR changes are complete and a new eLMS course can be developed. The delta briefing is nearly complete, and the team is currently developing the voice track which will narrate the slides. A new tasking memo will be issued by AJI that will correct an oversight in the 2019 tasking memo. The new tasking memo will assign the original eLMS course and subsequent Delta briefing to all operational NAS personnel including TMCs, STMCs, FLMs, OMs, regardless of facility.  

ALR for Oceanic Environment 

The ALR Oceanic Procedures subgroup meets biweekly. A tabletop exercise has been scheduled to develop and test procedures for building airspace reservations in ATOP, inserting flow NOTAMs, and activating THA reservations. A planning telcon to design the tabletop is scheduled for May 4th.  

The Hazardous Airspace Needs Analysis (HANA) is the newest title for the AJV-S group working on developing the requirements for SDI Phase 2. The HANA concept combines NSIC with SDI Phase 2 and will be the investment which will generate and disseminate hazardous airspace in real-time on a CPC’s display. A series of meetings are scheduled to discuss needs with key ATC operational stakeholders.  

LOA development  

Several reentry LOA’s are in development including SpaceX reentry to Gulf & Atlantic sites and Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser reentry to Huntsville AL, and also the Shuttle Landing Facility. Both are progressing well and should be prepared for signature in the coming months.  

Upcoming and recurring meetings: 

  • Weekly Mission Support Strategy (AJV-S) meetings 
  • Weekly meetings with AJR, AJV, and PMO counterparts 
  • Weekly MITRE meetings 
  • Weekly NITRO meetings 
  • Weekly Commercial Space LOA meetings 
  • Bi-weekly HANA meetings (formerly SDI Phase 2) 
  • Bi-weekly Acceptable Level of Risk (ALR) meetings 
  • Bi-weekly Acceptable Level of Risk (ALR) subgroup meetings 
  • Bi-weekly Joint Space Operations Group (JSpOG) meetings 
  • Bi-weekly NAS Space Integration Capabilities (NSIC) 
  • Monthly Space Data Integrator (SDI) meetings 
  • Quarterly Technical Interchange Meetings (TIM’s) 
  • LOA development meetings – ongoing 
  • Training development – ongoing 
  • Facility/site visits – as needed 
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