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FAA Restricts Airspace For Upcoming Space Flight

FAA Restricts Airspace for Upcoming Space Flight

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have issued Temporary Flight Restrictions and NOTAMS in preparation for NASA’s historic manned space flight to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.

This will be the first launch of astronauts to Earth orbit on an American-built spacecraft from American soil since 2011. It will carry 2 NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station

The launch is currently set to take off from Kennedy Space Center at 4:33 PM EDT, though that’ll depend on weather conditions. Those haven’t been looking too favorable over the past few days, but SpaceX and NASA have said they could make the call as late as around 45 minutes prior to the planned launch time about whether or not to delay. If today’s attempt is scrubbed, there are backup opportunities on the schedule for May 30 and May 31.

Space X

The FAA’s role is to ensure the safety of the airspace by prohibiting all aircraft operations within 30 nautical miles of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center during the reported time frame unless the operation is exempted. There are three types of NOTAMs:

– airspace, to close the airspace near the launch;

– flow, to provide route guidance to aviation operators; and

– security, to implement security measures for aircraft and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the area.

Aircraft operations involving UAS, flight training, aerobatic, glider, seaplane, parachute, ultralight, hang gliding, balloon, agriculture/crop dusting and more are prohibited.

Pilots who do not comply with the requirements, special instructions or procedures in the NOTAM may be intercepted, detained by law enforcement, and subjected to any of the following additional actions:

  • Civil penalties and the suspension or revocation of airmen certificates; or
  • Criminal charges; or
  • The U.S. Government may use deadly force against the airborne aircraft, if it is determined that the aircraft poses an imminent security threat.

Pilots should always monitor Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) and NOTAMs before they fly so that they are aware of airspace restrictions.

Navigational Chart Florida

Meanwhile, SpaceX has already begun plans to also offer berths on Crew Dragon to private citizens and potentially commercial scientists and other passengers. That’s part of the reason behind the Commercial Crew program to begin with – NASA was seeking to lower cost of transportation for its astronauts to space by making seats available to other paying customers to offset launch and flight expenses.

 

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