(Adds detail on companies and launches)
WASHINGTON, Nov 29 (Reuters) - U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Thursday appointed Wayne Monteith to be the Federal Aviation Administration's associate administrator for commercial space, as the private space business grows rapidly.
Monteith recently retired from the U.S. Air Force, where he was a brigadier general. He commanded the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, and led operations for the busiest spaceport in the world.
The commercial space industry has grown rapidly in recent years with Elon Musk's SpaceX, competing with United Launch Alliance, the joint venture between Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co, and Amazon.com chief Jeff Bezos's startup, Blue Origin.
Global commercial-satellite launch revenue was $4.6 billion in 2017, according to the Satellite Industry Association. (Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Jonathan Oatis)