The government has started a new permit system to ensure compliance with newly established safety standards to regulate satellite-mounted rocket launches. Launches scheduled November 2018 and beyond are subject to the safety review and the government has started accepting review applications from Nov. 15. The government will partly compensate for an accident involving casualties.
The Cabinet Office will manage the permit system under the Space Activities Act that was passed last year. The new system is aimed at encouraging private companies to enter the risk-prone rocket launching business by having the government develop a set of safety standards and shoulder part of the damages in case of an accident. This move is in response to expectations that micro satellite launches will increase as seen in the example of space venture start-up Interstellar Technologies (Taiki-cho, Hokkaido).
The safety standards require rockets to have a flight interruption function, monitoring systems to keep track of rocket location and status, and documentation of satellite composition and operation methods. It also mandates rockets that return to earth after completing their mission possess features to prevent causing damage on the ground through, for example, burning.
The Cabinet Office will assess whether rockets and satellites meet these standards and grant launch approvals.