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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Funding Boost for FAA's Commercial Space Office Questioned

 WASHINGTON — The U.S. office that regulates the commercial space transportation industry does not need the funding increase being sought by the White House next year given the uncertainty surrounding the markets it oversees, a U.S. government auditor told lawmakers May 5.

U.S. President Barack Obama requested $26.6 million for the Office of Commercial Space Transportation, part of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, for next year, a 74 percent increase over 2010. The raise would enable the office to increase its staff from 71 to 103 next year as it gears up for new services poised to enter the market, including hauling crews and cargo to the International Space Station.

But in testimony before the House Science, Space and Technology space and aeronautics subcommittee, Gerald Dillingham, director of physical infrastructure at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, said a more gradual expansion of the commercial space transportation office makes sense given the industry's pace of development.

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