Commercial Space Transportation: Improvements to FAA’s Workforce Planning Needed to Prepare for the Industry’s Anticipated Growth

The commercial space transportation industry provides launch services that enable national-security and commercial satellites, among other things, to be sent into orbit for government and private customers. Continued growth and evolution in the industry is expected as reliance on space-based applications increases. The Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) is charged with overseeing the industry, including licensing and monitoring launch vehicle operations. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to review developments in this industry. This report (1) describes the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA’s) actions to integrate commercial space launches into the national airspace and (2) examines how well-positioned AST is to determine its current and future workforce needs, among other objectives. GAO reviewed relevant statutes, regulations, and FAA guidance; compared FAA’s workforce management efforts to key principles for effective workforce planning; and interviewed FAA officials and U.S. commercial launch providers that had conducted an FAA-licensed launch as of January 2018, among other industry stakeholders. GAO is making four recommendations on workforce planning to AST, including that AST establish a timeline for finalizing longer-term workload projections and that AST ensure that it collects information from staff on skills and competencies in those areas that are currently needed and may be needed in the future. AST concurred with the recommendations.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Maps; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 60p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01707050
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO-19-437
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 23 2019 1:33PM