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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the agency of the United States Department of Transportation responsible for the regulation and oversight of civil aviation within the U.S., as well as operation and development of the National Airspace System. Its primary mission is to ensure safety of civil aviation. Primary Responsibilities The responsibilities of the FAA include: Regulating civil aviation to promote safety within the U.S. and abroad; Encouraging and developing civil aeronautics, including new aviation technology; Developing and operating a system of air traffic control and navigation for both civil and military aircraft; Researching and developing the National Airspace System and civil aeronautics; Developing and carrying out programs to control aircraft noise and other environmental effects of civil aviation; Regulating U.S. commercial space transportation. The FAA licenses commercial space launch facilities and private launches of space payloads on expendable launch vehicles. Investigation of aviation incidents, accidents and disasters is conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), an independent US government agency. Along with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) the FAA is one of the two main agencies world-wide responsible for the certification of aircraft. The organization of the FAA FAA is managed by an Administrator, assisted by a Deputy Administrator. Five Associate Administrators report to the Administrator and direct the line-of-business organisations that carry out the agency's principle functions. The Chief Counsel and nine Assistant Administrators also report to the Administrator. The Assistant Administrators oversee other key programs such as Human Resources, Budget, and System Safety. FAA also has nine geographical regions and two major centers, the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center and the William J. Hughes Technical Center.