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Mishaps in Commercial Space Transportation

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The U.S. commercial space transportation industry, which provides launch and other services for government and private customers, has grown rapidly in recent years. But not all launches go smoothly. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data show that 50 commercial space launches from 2000 through mid-January 2023 resulted in "mishaps" --the industry term for incidents such as catastrophic explosions and other failures. GAO found that FAA has authorized operator-led investigations for all mishaps where it had lead investigative authority. We recommend that 1) FAA develop criteria for determining when the agency will authorize a launch operator to lead a mishap investigation on the agency's behalf, and 2) FAA comprehensively evaluate the effectiveness of its mishap investigation process.
Date: Dec 07, 2023
Runtime: 00:01:20
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