The US Department of Transportation, the country's transport ministry, could be ready to certificate commercial spacecraft by 2008, says transportation secretary Norm Mineta.

“This timeline isn’t based on science fiction,” Mineta told delegates yesterday at the Annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference in Washington, DC. “It is a timeline based on the reality of where commercial space is today and where we expect the state of commercial space to be within two short years.”

Mineta says the regulator will be ready to approve the flights once tests of craft designed to take passengers into space are completed. Test permits will be issued in 2007, he adds. “We will move quickly to green-light flights that we know are safe,” says Mineta. “When the industry is set for lift off, we will be ready to launch.”


This article first appeared on Air Transport Intelligence, an online business intelligence service for the air transport industry with 24 hour news and data available to subscribers.

Source: Flight International