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Safe Space Exploration

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PALO ALTO, Calif. (KCBS) _ With tourism and other businesses moving closer to the stars, federal officials are looking to create new rules for safe space exploration.

Scott Hubbard is a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford, which is one of eight schools the Federal Aviation Administration has just tasked with a major project.

“We’re looking at what ought to be the policies and regulations for commercial space transportation,” said Hubbard.

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He said the first goal is figuring out how to keep rockets clear of airplanes. Right now, NASA and the Air Force create a huge stay-out zone for every rocket launch.

“You can do that once a month. But if you do that once a day, it can become a real inconvenience,” he said. “Somehow, you have to manage these two things together.”

Hubbard said new rules are needed and likewise with commercial spacecrafts.

And although he said he knows too much regulation could prove disastrous for commercial ventures, he’s confident that federal regulators get that as well.

“They want this business to succeed. They don’t want the heavy hand of government to prevent entrepreneurs from being creative,” said Hubbard.

To consolidate the research at Stanford and the other seven schools, the FAA has created a brand new Center for Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation.

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