Elon Musk has never been one to mince words, and this time he’s taking a shot at the Federal Aviation Administration for its “broken” system that prevented his space company, SpaceX, from launching a new satellite into space after a private helicopter entered the airspace 11 seconds before liftoff.
SpaceX, which was set to launch Transporter-2 on Tuesday, was forced to stop the countdown after the private helicopter entered the so-called “keep out zone,” which Musk called “unreasonably gigantic.”
“Unfortunately, launch is called off for today, as an aircraft entered the ‘keep out zone,’ which is unreasonably gigantic,” SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted. “There is simply no way that humanity can become a spacefaring civilization without major regulatory reform. The current regulatory system is broken.”
“We agree that there is a better way and stand ready to work with [SpaceX], [the FAA], and others to support the safe integration of all national airspace users,” replied Captain Joe DePete, the president of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). “We detailed our national space integration strategy before Congress earlier this month.” The Daily Wire reports that DePete put out a press release from the ALPA calling for a “National Space Integration Strategy” that establishes launch planning and recovery standards for the FAA to institute while working in collaboration with companies like SpaceX and other private space and aviation companies. The document cites the FAA’s forecast of an increase in U.S. launch activities by as much as 100% by 2025.
The strategy would include:
· Establishing launch planning and recovery standards,
· Creating standards to make certain reentry of very large pieces of space debris occurs at a predefined location and time, and
· Requiring notification of pilots, airlines, and controllers not directly involved in a space launch about risk level changes in the airspace.
“As we consider the promise — but also the challenges — of increased spaceflight, the aviation and aerospace sectors have a proven model to follow to ensure safety,” said DePete. “A similar data-driven, risk-based construct will help create a proactive safety culture for commercial spaceflight.