Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released the following statement in response to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA AST).

Chairman Lamar Smith: “The FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation is important for our nation’s space industry.  As the commercial space sector grows, FAA AST should exercise all of its existing authorities and maximize its current resources. GAO’s report highlights ways that can be done, such as utilizing overtime and facilitating the development of industry standards to respond to increased workloads.  The Committee will continue to work with the FAA to ensure it has the resources it needs to ensure a healthy and safe domestic commercial space sector.  An important step in this direction is the passage of H.R. 2262, the Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship Act of 2015, or SPACE Act.”      

The report was created at the request of Chairman Smith. It acknowledges the “multiple challenges” the FAA faces in addressing industry developments. The report also underscores the need for extending the crucial “learning period” beyond September 2015. The SPACE Act would extend the learning period for 10 years while introducing additional accountability and transparency measures.

Among its findings, the report revealed a mismatch of expectations for the office and realized workload, a lack of justification for increased funding and authority, an absence of important additional workload metrics for Congress to use to evaluate changes to the FAA’s needs, and the need to update the risk methodology that informs launch indemnification.