Like in the past, federal regulators will be trying to figure out what their role should be in the new era.
Here are some glimpses at the future.
SpaceX, the iconic company in commercial space, was eager to launch a fully-scaled version of its Starship rocket on its first orbital test flight.
The launch would be historic. Starship is expected to outpower all rockets ever made, even the Saturn V rockets which took astronauts to the Moon in the last century.
After a few high-altitude test launches in the first half of 2021 of the upper spaceship, the company has been assembling its first full-scale Starship rocket — complete with a gargantuan rocket booster that promises to propel the spaceship into orbit.
SpaceX originally expected to receive the all-clear by 2021’s end, but according to the FAA, environmental assessments will continue at least until February 28, 2022.
Orbital tourism and rocket launches
If Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft is operational, there may be more opportunities to ride in orbit.
Branson, Bezos, and suborbital tourism
Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson have worked for many years to create spacecraft that can take customers on short, supersonic journeys to the edge. Both billionaires were able to travel to the edge in their respective spacecraft, making their own trips to space in 2021.
Both flights were successful and the men emerged from the spacecraft in custom flight suits. They beamed for the cameras.
Already labor issues rising
Blue Origin, however, has not been immune to its own controversies. However, none of these have highlighted safety concerns with the rocket or spacecraft.
The designation will expire in 2023. However, the FAA stated that lawmakers are keeping an eye on the situation and may consider changing it. The entire thing could be the subject for a Government Accountability Office Report. CNN Business obtained emails indicating that the GAO contacted the FAA to get more information on its Blue Origin probe.