Italy in spaceport deal with U.S. FAA
For sub-orbital travel
Rome, June 30 - Italian civil aviation authority ENAC and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) on Thursday signed an agreement with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to develop a spaceport for sub-orbital flights somewhere in Italy.
Sub-orbital flights cross in and out of the Earth's atmosphere without leaving its orbit. "It could take three to five years - it all depends on the reactions we get from the political, technological and industrial sectors," said ASI chief Roberto Battiston.
"We'll meet with the FAA and with ASI to work out common regulations," said deputy ENAC chief Benedetto Marasà.
After that, private companies operating in the multi-billion-dollar space travel sector can get involved. These include Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' aerospace manufacturer Blue Origin, Las Vegas-based expandable space station module developer Bigelow Aerospace, American aerospace manufacturer and defense company Orbital ATK Inc., and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, which is developing commercial spacecraft to provide suborbital spaceflights to space tourists.