In a new initiative unveiled Thursday by the Federal Aviation Administration, rocket launches and spacecraft landings will be recorded and monitored alongside airline traffic to improve safety.
According to a news release, the FAA believes that the new Space Data Integrator system would enhance efficiency in the space launch business by reducing the need to shut airspace around rocket launches for lengthy periods of time.
According to the FAA, the initiative will automatically gather telemetry data from rockets and spacecraft launched by firms like as SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Firefly Aerospace.
“This vastly improves the FAA’s situational awareness of where the vehicle is as it travels to space or as it returns to the Earth,” the FAA said.
“This is a critical tool as the number of users of our already busy airspace increases,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in the release. “With this capability, we will be able to safely reopen the airspace more quickly and reduce the number of aircraft and other airspace users affected by a launch or re-entry.”
The government stated that it tested the SDI system during SpaceX’s Transporter-2 launch on June 30, but did not make that information public until Thursday.
The launch had been delayed by one day due to a jet flying within the FAA’s “keep out” zone. Elon Musk, the creator and CEO of SpaceX, criticised the delay on Twitter, saying that such restrictions are “outdated.”
The FAA did not immediately respond on whether or not the use of the SDI system contributed to the delay, or whether it might in the future.
The FAA oversees private spaceflight and approves spacecraft and launch firms. In 2020, the agency handled 45 launches and re-entries, and it anticipates around 70 this year.