House Sends Crucial Commercial Space Bill To President’s Desk

November 16, 2015 – Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bi-partisan, bicameral U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (CSLCA, or H.R. 2262 as amended), which represents one of the most significant modernizations of commercial space policy and regulatory legislation since the original Commercial Space Launch Act (CSLA) was enacted in 1984.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), and Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas) praised passage of the crucial legislation that provides guidance and certainty for American commercial space partners.

“Today America stands at the beginning of a new era of innovation and adventure,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “Scientists — engineers — astronauts — and entrepreneurs are working to embark on the next phase of our journey into space. Completing consideration of the SPACE Act in this chamber today helps ensure America remains the leader in space exploration and innovation in the 21st century.”

H.R. 2262 is a fair and equitable compromise that resulted from months of hard work and negotiations among Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate to harmonize language from the House-passed SPACE Act of 2015 with provisions from S. 1297, the Senate’s commercial space legislation. It reflects Majority Leader McCarthy and Chairman Smith’s vision for commercial spaceflight, while addressing issues raised by Democratic leaders during deliberations on the bill.

The House passed this compromise bill by voice vote, indicating broad support for this legislation across the political spectrum. This new legislation sets the stage for the continued growth and expansion of the space transportation industry, while enabling rapid advances in safety for spaceflight participants. It also promotes investments in new commercial space applications, promising future spaceflight capabilities that will benefit all Americans. It is now headed to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

“The members of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation commend Majority Leader McCarthy, Chairman Smith, as well as all their cosponsors, and all of their staff for the many contributions and the perseverance in advancing this bi-partisan legislation that will ensure America remains the leading force in the economic development of space, from safe and reliable space transportation for cargo and humans, to the exploration and utilization of space resources,” CSF President Eric Stallmer said.

Specifically, H.R. 2262:

  • Extends the Federal Aviation Administration’s regulatory learning period through September 30, 2023

  • Preserves the risk sharing regime that allows American companies to remain internationally competitive through September 30, 2025

  • Provides a four-year extension of the International Space Station until at least 2024 that gives certainty for ISS National Laboratory users

  • The House-Senate agreement also includes three additional bills passed out of the House Science Committee:

  • H.R. 2261, the “Commercial Remote Sensing Act of 2015” introduced by Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.)

  • H.R. 2263, the “Office of Space Commerce Act” introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.)

  • H.R. 1508, the “Space Resource Exploration and Utilization Act of 2015” introduced by Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.) and Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.)

  • In addition to McCarthy and Smith, H.R. 2262 was originally introduced in the House with the support of the following cosponsors: Representatives Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Steve Knight (R-Calif.), Brian Babin (R-Texas), Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), Randy Weber (R-Texas), and John Moolenaar (R-Mich.).