The European Aviation Safety Agency has unveiled its proposed regulatory approach for suborbital aircraft at a space safety conference in Rome.
Its proposals are that designers and operators of such vehicles will have to be fully certificated before the first commercial flight, including operations, flightcrew and passenger licensing and continued airworthiness. EASA's internal safety committee decided on 8 July to start the preliminary work that was presented for the first time at the 3rd International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety conference, held from 21-23 October.
The agency's general aviation project certification manager Jean-Bruno Marciacq worked on the proposals. At the conference he told Flight International: "We have been contacted by potential applicants [for suborbital aircraft approval]. I can't say who."
A follow-up policy paper will be informed by the first round of applicants' feedback while regulations are expected in the longer term.
Rules CS-23 and CS-25 with special conditions are being put forward as the certification route and what certification there is could be type limited. The US Federal Aviation Administration rules, which are already law, do not require vehicles to gain certification and that situation is now unlikely to change well into the next decade.