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Commercial Space Act of 2003

H. R. 3245, a bill to streamline the regulatory framework under which the new suborbital tourist business will operate, has been submitted to Congress by Dana Rohrabacher (R-Ca).

Dana has a somewhat libertarian background (or so I was told by a staffer of his from early days) but has become more a conservative Republican over the years. He still shares many ideals with us. He is also one of the few who actively support commercial space development. This is not to say it is opposed by many; most in Congress don’t particularly give a damn.

You can read the bill here, but this summarizes it nicely:

The Secretary of Transportation shall take appropriate efforts, including realignment of personnel and resources, to create a streamlined, cost-effective, and enabling regulatory framework for the United States commercial human spaceflight industry. The Secretary of Transportation shall clearly distinguish the Department’s regulation of air commerce from its regulation of commercial human spaceflight, and focus the Department’s regulation of commercial human spaceflight activities on protecting the safety of the general public, while allowing spaceflight participants who have been trained and meet license-specific standards to assume an informed level of risk. Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall transmit to the Congress a report on the progress made in implementing this section.

If you are in the US, you may want to encourage your congresscritter to support it. The bill has inputs from many in the commercial space advocacy community, Among them are a number who actually run the small companies who will be most liberated by a simpler and clearer regulatory framework.

We might wish for a zero regulation policy, but that is not the world we are living in. Still, we can push legislation in the direction of clarity and minimalism.

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2 comments to Commercial Space Act of 2003

  • Dave O'Neill

    Interesting. I’ll be curious to see how this develops. Its certainly one of the big bottle necks to the development of an industry. But I’m still waiting to see how the market actually develops.

    I’ve yet to be convinced by any of the business plans people have spoken to me about. The ROI just doesn’t work without some serious handwaving.

  • Ken

    There’s still a license involved in going to space, which means that the authorities can still keep a Berlin Wall in the sky simply by licensing a vanishingly small number of passengers.

    I don’t think this will get us off the ground.

    “We might wish for a zero regulation policy, but that is not the world we are living in. Still, we can push legislation in the direction of clarity and minimalism.”

    Beware of “partial deregulation”. California tried that in the electrical market, and when a badly-designed “deregulation” plan backfired, the other side was quick to jump on the failure as proof that deregulation in general is a bad idea.