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Bipartisan Cruz-Nelson-Markey Space Frontier Act Passed by Senate Commerce Committee

‘This bill will help our great nation to maintain and fortify its leadership in space and pursue further space exploration opportunities’

August 1, 2018

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), and Ed Markey’s (D-Mass.) Space Frontier Act (S.3277) passed the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation by voice vote with strong bipartisan support. The bill extends the operation of the International Space Station (ISS) through 2030, reforms regulations for commercial space launch operations and overhauls antiquated Earth observation regulations to support the further development of the commercial space sector, and fortify America’s leadership in space exploration.

“While the commercial space industry is continuing to grow, it has been unable to meet its full potential due to outdated regulations and policies that can stifle innovation, restrict investment, and drive the American launch sector and non-traditional space activities to foreign countries abroad,” Sen. Cruz said. “The Space Frontier Act seeks to solve these issues by streamlining launch and re-entry regulations for reusable and expendable launch systems. It establishes an Assistant Secretary for Commercial Space Transportation with the Department of Transportation to elevate the profile of commercial space issues within the Department, and it overhauls Earth observation regulations that haven’t been updated since they were first created in the early 1990’s.” 

Watch Sen. Cruz’s remarks in today’s committee markup here. A full transcript is below:

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you and I want to thank the members of this Committee for taking up and passing this morning the Space Frontier Act of 2018. I am grateful for the efforts of Chairman Thune, Senators Nelson and Markey, and for the Committee staff on this issue, we worked together, as well as the broad bipartisan support that we have for the commercial space industry and for America’s continued leadership in space. 

“The Space Frontier Act builds upon the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act that was passed by this Committee in 2015, and was signed into law by President Obama.

“The United States has the potential to grow a vibrant and competitive commercial space industry far beyond where we are today. The FAA reported in 2009 that commercial space transportation and enabled industries generated $208.3 billion in economic activity.

“While the commercial space industry is continuing to grow, it has been unable to meet its full potential due to outdated regulations and policies that can stifle innovation, restrict investment, and drive the American launch sector and non-traditional space activities to foreign countries abroad.

“The Space Frontier Act seeks to solve these issues by streamlining launch and re-entry regulations for reusable and expendable launch systems. It establishes an Assistant Secretary for Commercial Space Transportation with the Department of Transportation to elevate the profile of commercial space issues within the Department, and it overhauls Earth observation regulations that haven’t been updated since they were first created in the early 1990’s.

“In addition, this bill extends the operation and utilization of the International Space Station through 2030 to ensure that the United States is getting the maximum return on American taxpayer investment in the ISS, and to avoid creating a leadership vacuum in low Earth orbit.

“I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure that we pass this bill in the Senate and send it to President Trump’s desk before the end of this Congress.”

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