Commercial space launches



While the space shuttle is expected to be the principle Space Transportation System (STS) of the United States, the Reagan Administration is moving ahead with the President's declared space policy of encouraging private sector operation of expendable launch vehicles (ELV's). With the signing of the “Commercial Space Launch Law” on October 30, the administration hopes that it has opened up the door for commercial ventures into space by streamlining regulations and coordinating applications for launches. The administration considers the development and operation of private sector ELV's as an important part of an overall U.S. space policy, complementing the space shuttle and government ELV's. The law follows by nearly a year the creation of the Office of Commercial Space Transportation at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), which will coordinate applications for commercial space launches.