Skip to content

Sen. Cruz: The World is Safer and Stronger When Our Ideals of Free Enterprise are the Driving Force of Commerce Throughout the Galaxy

Chairs hearing to explore the reopening of the American frontier in space

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today chaired the first of a series of planned hearings to explore the reopening of the American frontier in space. Today’s hearing titled ‘Reopening the American Frontier: Reducing the Regulatory Barriers and Expanding American Free Enterprise in Space,’ examined the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act signed into law in November 2015, potential regulatory barriers to address in future legislation, and ways to expand commercial opportunities for American firms in space.

Four witnesses testified at the hearing, including Robert Bigelow, founder, Bigelow Aerospace; Rob Meyerson, President, Blue Origin; George Whitesides, CEO, Galactic Ventures; Andrew Eush, CEO, Made in Space.

Watch the hearing in its entirety here. Sen. Cruz’s opening statement can be viewed here and the full text of his opening remarks is below:

“In 1890 the Superintendent of the Census declared the end of the American Frontier by stating, “Up to and including 1880, the country had a frontier of settlement, but at present the unsettled area has been so broken into by isolated bodies of settlement that there can hardly be said to be a frontier line. In the discussion of its extent, its westward movement etc., it cannot, therefore, any longer have a place in the census reports. 

“The American vision of westward expansion that had been initiated 86 years earlier through the Lewis and Clark Expedition had been successful in leading to the expansion of American commerce and settlement in a new territory that had not previously been chartered by American pioneers. 

“Today, we embark upon a series of hearings looking at reopening the American Frontier with our sights set on the heavens above which President Kennedy referred to as ‘the New Frontier.’ It is only fitting that the nation born on the last frontier shall lead the way in the new frontier.

“America must expand commerce and settlement into space and we must do it first. This is an issue that not only impacts our global competitiveness but our national security. 

“The world is far safer with America as a global leader on this planet and the world will similarly be safer and stronger if the United States and our ideals of free enterprise and free speech are the driving force of commerce and settlement throughout the galaxy. 

“For nearly 60 years NASA has granted the United States access to space and has made human spaceflight a reality. In recent years, commercial space companies have made great strides in technological advancements and the scope of their business activities that are leading to a new and dynamic renaissance in spaceflight.

“This is creating the real possibility that in the not too distant future, American private citizens will be able to reach space from a launch pad or a runway in Texas. 

“However, to ensure that this remains within the realm of the possible, Congress needs to work to ensure that investment and innovation within the commercial space sector isn’t effectively chilled by obsolete regulations or overly burdensome requirements that may not naturally apply to new business models. 

“As we look at the future of American free enterprise and settlement in space we should also thoroughly review of the United Nations’ Outer Space Treaty which was written and enacted during a different time and era in 1967. It’s important that Congress evaluate how a treaty that was enacted 50 years ago will impact new and innovative activity within space as well as potential settlement throughout the galaxy. 

“Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t explore ways that the commercial space sector, academia and NASA can look to build upon current partnerships and create new ones that can advance human spaceflight, research and discovery. 

“As we embark upon this series of hearings and potential legislation, I look forward to continuing to work in the same strong bipartisan manner with Chairman Thune, Ranking Member Nelson, and our subcommittee’s previous ranking member Senator Peters.

“I would also like to welcome our subcommittee’s new ranking member Senator Ed Markey. Welcome to this committee, I will say at a time of significant partisan division on a great many issues, this subcommittee has been remarkable, under a Democrat and Republican Senate, for being able to produce bipartisan legislation. We have been able to produce not one, but two bills in the last couple of years. The U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, which was signed into law by President Obama and the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017, which was signed in by President Trump. In both instances this committee was able to work across party lines to achieve consensus and to move the ball forward. 

“I look forward to working together and continue working on new legislation to nurture, create, and to expand a vibrant commercial space sector and a strong NASA, so America continues to lead the world in space exploration.”


Related Issues

  1. Tax Reform