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Rocket permission Air Navigation Order

Launch activity of a large rocket capable of operating below the stratosphere (about 47km altitude) requires a permission under Article 96 of the Air Navigation Order (ANO). Rocket launches carried out under the ANO are therefore sub-orbital.  

A large rocket is defined as a rocket with a total combined motor impulse of greater than 10,240 Newton-seconds.

Launch activity of a rocket capable of operating above the stratosphere is regulated under the Space Industry Act 2018 and requires a licence.  

How do I apply?

Please complete our online application form. We ask you for information like your planned launch site, key people involved in the launch and details of your rocket and your planned flight, including:

  • Planned apogee (maximum altitude) the rocket will be reaching.
  • Launch azimuth (angle of the launch relative to true north).
  • Inclination of your launch (relative to the ground).
  • Technical particulars of the rocket.

Please email your completed application to commercialspaceflight@caa.co.uk

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How much does it cost?

There is no charge for a large rocket permission.

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What do I need to send with my application?

The following information needs to be sent with your application:

  • A copy of your safety case, including your flight safety analysis
  • Certified copies of your insurance policy. If cover is not in place when you submit your application, you should provide evidence of engagement with insurers and/or other parties on insurance proposals for such arrangements.
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What else do I need to know?

We encourage you to speak to us before you apply to discuss your planned launch. You can book a pre-application meeting, this will help us to understand your proposed mission and timescales. We can also discuss the requirements you need to fulfil as part of your application.

To grant a permission we need to be satisfied that your safety case has:

  • Identified the hazards and risks of your launch.
  • Reduced the risks to As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP) and that those risks are acceptable.

For more information on what you will need send us as part of your application please read our guidance Guidance on applications to launch a large rocket under the Air Navigation Order and Assessing ALARP and acceptable risk.

In addition to a launch permission, you may need to launch within segregated airspace. If you are not using an existing Danger Area, you may need to apply for a Temporary Danger Area (TDA).

To apply for a TDA you must submit a Statement of Need. The airspace change process for a TDA takes a minimum of six months so early submission of a Statement of Need is recommended. Any large rocket permission will be conditional on airspace approval.

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How long will it take for my application to be assessed?

Once we receive your application, it will take at least 16 weeks to assess your submission for a large rocket permission.

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What happens next?

  • Once we receive your application we will assign you a case manager, who will contact you and remain your main point of contact throughout.
  • We complete an initial screen of your application documents to make sure you have provided everything we need to carry out our assessment.
  • We review your safety case, insurance plan and any other necessary arrangements. When we have further questions for you, the ‘clock’ will stop the 16 weeks until you provide the information required for us to continue with our assessment.
  • Any permission we grant will include conditions with which you must comply.

To show compliance, you may need to send us information for example, details of any tests or rehearsals you conduct or a post launch report. We may also choose to carry out inspections of your sites before and after any launch.

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How long is it valid for?

Your large rocket permission is valid for a single launch.

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