Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently activated a new tool that automates the near-instantaneous sending of data regarding a spacecraft's flight route to the FAA's air traffic control system.

The Space Data Integrator (SDI) tool will replace a system where much of providing telemetry data about spacecraft to air traffic control managers is done manually.

AIN Online said SDI would also automate the supply of vehicle-related telemetry data to the FAA Air Traffic Control Command Center. The new feature will strengthen the agency's capacity to track and manage air traffic during space activities "dramatically." This information comprises the location of the vehicle, its altitude, speed, and any deviations. It also allows the FAA to track the vehicle throughout the flight, allowing them to monitor performance and highlight hazard regions if debris falls from the vehicle.

"With this capability, we will be able to safely reopen the airspace more quickly and reduce the number of aircraft and other airspace users affected by a launch or reentry," FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson said in a statement.

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(Photo: Red Huber/Getty Images)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - NOVEMBER 13: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule are seen on launch pad 39A on November 13, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

FAA's Anti-Airspace Disturbance System

AVWeb said FAA has already used the anti-airspace disruption technology to control one of the world's largest space launches.

According to the FAA, Elon Musk's SpaceX was the first business to share flight telemetry data with the agency, and others have subsequently joined the program, including Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin.

This is in reference to SpaceX's recent Transporter 2 rocket launch, which Elon Musk's company launched to space on June 30.

However, a problem arose when an errant pilot flew a plane inside the huge exclusion zone set up for space activity.

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SpaceX chose to cancel the activity to avoid a possible collision or other flying difficulties. The FAA's updated system version, on the other hand, may have prevented the latest SpaceX mishap.

However, the latest version of the technology is vital, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said. He explained that various corporations are making the world's airspace busier than before.

FAA said there were 45 space launches and reentries last year, which set a new record, and that number is expected to grow to over 70 this year.

The agency said other adjustments implemented by the FAA had decreased airspace restrictions from an average of more than four hours to just over two hours for a launch. According to the agency, the Space Data Integrator will lower that even more, but it did not specify a time frame.

Other Activities Of FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration is also altering its pilot training requirements, Flight Global said. According to the FAA, the reason for this is to make rookie plane operators safer when they fly their first flights.

Before instructing new pilots, the FAA announced that instructors must receive a "letter of deviation authority" (LODA).

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