Raymond G. Van De Walker wrote:
> "Billy Brown" <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> >Actually, it would be illegal for you to build or operate
> >a spacecraft you need a few tens of thousands of pages worth
> >of permits and paperwork before you'll be allowed to play with
> >toys like that.
> *sigh* I thought that it had gotten better with the legislation that
> centralized it in the Dept. of Commerce, but you may well be right.
Really, it has gotten better. I've met the chief of regulations for the FAA's AST, Manuel Vega, and he's one of those rare creatures- a bureaucrat with dedication, intelligence, and a sense of duty. I doubt if we'll need more than two full-time staff to take care of all the paperwork for licensing (in addition to a little time by a bunch of others including myself). Space launch vehicles pack a lot of energy into a small package, and are inherently dangerous to innocent bystanders. I've seen the NPRM for RLV's and it's not onerous- certainly not even a thousand pages to comply.
I've been a member of self-policing organizations like the US Parachute Association, and while I am a libertarian, a bit of organization does help make things run smoother (as in Heinlein's quote on good manners).
Anyway, I don't see the FAA seriously getting in the way of me personally participating in spaceflight (in about a year if things continue to go well).
-- Doug Jones, Rocket Plumber Rotary Rocket Company