Global Space Safety
The space industry is expanding rapidly worldwide and with it an increased need to ensure the safety of the public, ground processing personnel, crew and flight participants. This increasing safety risk is a result of expanding international civil and commercial efforts that now include several dozens of new private and institutional entrants, in the commercial launch business in general and in the human spaceflight and space tourism business in particular, by developing various types of space vehicles and rockets. This increasing safety risk also reflects a lack of technical progress in the field, weak or non-existent international rules in areas such as orbital debris, and a lack of valid international standards. So far, the US FAA-AST and Congressional legislation has led the way, but comprehensive international rules of the road for commercial space flight and the regulation of the space environment are lacking and will be so for years to come. Eventually the prospect for new space commerce and the growth of private spaceflight will be encumbered if the necessary course of corrective actions is not undertaken –sooner rather than later.