• This page provides guidance on the airspace notification aspects of a rocket event or activity.

    Notification to CAA Airspace Regulation

    • Large rockets

      If the total impulse of the rocket motor (or combination of motors) is more than 10,240 Newton-Seconds, it will be defined as a Large Rocket (as laid out in Schedule 1 of the Air Navigation Order (ANO) 2016 (as amended)).  For the operation of such rockets, the launch operator will require a CAA permission issued under Article 96 of the ANO 2016 (as amended).  If such a permission is required, please contact Airspace Regulation as soon as possible to commence the process
      In addition to a CAA permission, you may be required to launch Large Rocket(s) within segregated airspace, such as a Danger Area.  The UK has a number of established Danger Areas that may be able to accommodate launches of Large Rockets.  You may also apply for a Temporary Danger Area through the process detailed in CAP 1616: Airspace change: Guidance on the regulatory process for changing the notified airspace design and planned and permanent redistribution of air traffic, and on providing airspace information.  Please review CAP 1616 and the Policy for Permanently Established Danger Areas and Temporary Danger Areas.  If you choose to apply for a Temporary Danger Area, please note that the process may take up to 6 months to complete.
      Further permissions may be required from the CAA’s Spaceflight Team.

    • All other rockets

      For all rockets that are outwith the ANO definition of Large Rockets, please complete and submit the notification form.
      A minimum of 28 days’ notice is requested.  During periods of high workload, we may be unable to process notifications made with less than the stated minimum notice.
      If it is a recurring event/activity, please quote the previous CAA activity reference number (if known) when completing the notification form.
      After you submit the notification form, you will receive an automated email confirmation that the details have been received.
      When the notification is received, the details are checked to ensure all required information has been provided in line with regulatory/policy requirements.  The event/activity is then compared against other known activity where we would support the co-ordination and deconfliction of any conflicting activities.  If clarification of the details is required, we will contact you via the email address that was provided in the notification form.

    CAA Airspace Regulation output

    Our output is likely to consist of the following:

    • Notice to aviation (NOTAM) 

      For some activities of this type, we issue NOTAM to notify other airspace users.  A NOTAM is a Notice to Aviation containing information concerning the establishment, condition or change in any aeronautical facility, service, procedure or hazard, the timely knowledge of which is essential to personnel concerned with flight operations.  Further details of the NOTAM system are in the UK Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) section GEN 3.1 (available on the NATS Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) website) and in the UK NOTAM Guidance Material.

    We will endeavour to provide a response.  However, during periods of high workload, it may not be possible to respond to every notification.  Valid NOTAM can be viewed on the NATS AIS website.  When enquiring about the status of an outstanding notification, please always quote the reference number that you received in the automated email confirmation.

    Subject to workload, we will respond by email to the address that was provided in the notification form.  The email will explain whether or not the notification has been successfully processed.  Additional advice/guidance may be included.

    CAA Airspace Regulation do not currently charge for this work.  Full details of CAA charges can be found in the Scheme of Charges.

  • If your event/activity is changed or cancelled, please refer to our guidelines for flying display organisers and display pilots and also inform Airspace Regulation as soon as possible.  If Airspace Regulation have already completed the assessment of the event/activity and provided you with a detailed response, please quote the activity reference number that was used in our email to you.

    For changes, appropriate re-assessment and notification action will be undertaken.  For cancellations, we will take action to cancel any output already published.

    However, please bear in mind that, during periods of high workload, we may be unable to action changes/cancellations made at short notice.

  • Responsibilities of the event/activity sponsor

    The CAA’s response to the sponsor does not constitute permission to disregard the legitimate interests of site landowners, other statutory bodies such as the Police and Emergency Services, the Highway Agency, local authorities (and their agents) or any other statutory body.  It is the sponsor/operator’s responsibility to ensure that those interests are taken into consideration before going ahead with the event/activity.

    The event/activity sponsor/operator is ultimately responsible for flight safety and must comply with the Air Navigation Order (ANO) 2016 (as amended) articles relating to endangerment:

    • Article 240 - Endangering safety of an aircraft

      A person must not recklessly or negligently act in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft, or any person in an aircraft.
    • Article 241 - Endangering safety of any person or property

      A person must not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger any person or property.

    ANO Article 265 provides that it is a criminal offence to contravene EC Regulations as retained (and amended in UK domestic law) under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, the ANO or Regulations made under the Order.  Further information can be found in CAP 1422: Code of Practice for the Investigations and Enforcement Team.

    The sponsor/operator is responsible for the event/activity complying with all relevant national regulations. 

    Please refer to the relevant event/activity page for more specific guidance

  • Contact us

    If you have any questions, please contact Airspace Regulation between the hours of 08:30 and 16:30 Monday to Friday (excluding Public Holidays).  It may not be possible to action messages/notifications submitted after 16:00 until the next working day.

    Planned periods of extended closure of the Airspace Regulation section will be notified here:

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