Long before it ever seemed possible, space travel was a fixture in our dreams of the future. Yet from the 1940s and 50s--the early days of suborbital space flight--to the first manned flights in the 1960s, the dream became real. But we continued to dream and to press forward --first with a mission to the moon, then a reusable space vehicle and a space station orbiting Earth.
Today, the commercial space community dreams of space flight as a mainstream form of travel, as common as hopping a plane from New York to Los Angeles. And with the support of the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space Transportation, we are well on the way toward realizing that dream.
One step on that path is a regular exchange of information, bringing experts together to share what they've learned and to shape the future direction of the industry. A terrific source for the latest information is the Annual FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference, meeting this week here in Washington, DC.
The conference features key federal officials, leaders from Congress and industry, space entrepreneurs, international partners, astronauts, educators, and space enthusiasts. And they're all talking about one thing: how best to continue the tremendous progress we've made thus far.
The FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Center of Excellence continues to work to ensure safety, lower costs, and improve the reliability of commercial space vehicles. Through the Center, we've forged productive partnerships involving universities, faculty and students, research partners, and industry. And we are hard at work creating projects that may someday revolutionize our lives--here on Earth and beyond.
Of course, we have more work ahead of us. Now is the time to encourage innovation and to explore new ways of working. Now is the time to re-imagine the relationship between government and industry.
Today, we're at a pivotal moment in our nation’s long adventure in space. Great opportunities lie ahead for the commercial space industry--in transport, tourism, and economic development.
And as we move forward, DOT remains committed to supporting the commercial space industry. We will continue to do our part to support industry growth and innovation, and we will continue to work with NASA and the private sector to safely and reliably transport people and cargo.