Los Angeles, CA, March 9, 2004 – The Space Frontier Foundation applauds the House of Representatives for its strong nonpartisan support of H.R. 3752, the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004 (CSLA), which passed this week by a vote of 402-1. The legislation, which streamlines and clarifies the processes needed to certify new space transportation systems, clears the bureaucratic runway so a host of new commercial spaceships being designed across America can soon begin to fly.
Rick Tumlinson, a Founder of the Space Frontier Foundation, stated, “we congratulate Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert, congressman Dana Rohrabacher and their colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their vision and support of this important legislation. These changes, once enacted, will enable our nation’s space entrepreneurs to spend their time flying into space rather than filling out a stack of forms so high that it could reach space,” he continued. “It is a tremendous breakthrough, whose effect will ripple through time.”
The CSLA clarifies the regulations for commercial space projects by identifying the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) as the sole office responsible for regulating commercial launch vehicles. There have been internal disagreements within the FAA of how to handle these new vehicles, since they don’t fit neatly within any existing jurisdictional category, resulting in uncertainty and stalling the pace of their development.
“It is clear AST is the right place for these first-generation vehicles. There will now be clear partner in the U.S. government they can work with and who understands them,” advised Tumlinson. “These early rocketships will lead to more capable spaceships that will fly in orbit, to the Moon, and beyond – so that when our descendants look back at Earth from distant worlds, they will recall this legislation as a major moment in human space flight history.”
The CSLA now goes to the Senate, where passage will lead to what the Foundation believes will be the dawn of the era of commercial human space flight. The organization, which has long championed these alternative (or alt.space) firms and is home to many of the founders and operators of these companies, is hopeful that the legislation will not get bogged down in the Senate. Until then, having already invested millions of dollars developing their rocket ships, these firms will be tied to the ground by red tape – keeping new investors at bay and threatening to kill what may well be the next great technological revolution.
Tumlinson continued, “this is a visionary bill that will change the future of the world as much as government support for the pioneers of aviation did at the beginning of the last century. It maintains a flat budget for AST, creates a whole new industry, protects the public and the environment and brings the day much closer when access to space for everyone is a reality rather than a dream.”
The Foundation strongly supports the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004 and calls on the Senate to pass it swiftly.
Chairman Boehlert’s full statement on HR 3752 can be seen at: http://www.house.gov/science/press/108/108-195.htm.