The Commercial Spaceflight Federation applauds NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine’s announcement that NASA will support congressionally directed increased funding of $20 million for the Flight Opportunities program. The Flight Opportunities program enables low-cost access to the spaceflight environment for students, researchers, and technologists on commercial low-gravity simulating aircraft, high-altitude balloons and reusable suborbital rockets. The increased funding will improve and increase the number of payloads flown and make it easier for students, researchers, technologists, and entrepreneurs to access the spaceflight environment.
“At a time when a growing number of commercial space companies are or will soon be providing cost-effective and frequent access to suborbital space for humans and research payloads, it is important to fully utilize Flight Opportunities program funds in an effective manner that contributes to NASA’s broader science, education, and technology development missions,” said Eric Stallmer, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. “Administrator Bridenstine’s announcement is a big step towards achieving that goal. We heartily applaud and thank Administrator Bridenstine and his leadership team at NASA, Tom Cremins and Jim Reuter, for their support and look forward to continuing to work with them to fully realize the game-changing power of the Flight Opportunities Program.”
In May, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation sent a letter to Administrator Bridenstine strongly recommending NASA embrace the full $20 million and other programmatic improvements to the Flight Opportunities program in FY18. Please see here for a copy of the letter.
The Suborbital Applications Researchers Group (SARG) is the driving force within Commercial Spaceflight Federation for the Flight Opportunities community, which played a critical role in bringing about the announced changes to the Flight Opportunities program. The SARG was created on August 10, 2009 to increase awareness of commercial suborbital vehicles in the science and R&D communities, to work with policymakers to ensure that payloads can have easy access to these vehicles, and to further develop ideas for the uses of these vehicles for science, engineering, and education missions.