WASHINGTON - The U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee today announced growing support for the American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act (H.R. 2809), which the House passed unanimously today. The legislation, which is sponsored by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), was unanimously approved by the committee June 8, 2017. Keep reading to see what they’re saying.
“While our excitement grows for possibilities and advancements in space, we continue to be concerned about the regulatory restrictions the industry faces. This is why the passage of H.R. 2809 – the American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act – is so critical. For too long, the remote sensing industry, in particular, has operated under outdated laws and regulations that are hampering international competitiveness. This bill will provide necessary updates that will help keep U.S. industry an international leader and provide the transparency, timelines and predictability needed for technology advancements and investment.” – Marcy Steinke, senior vice president, government relations & public policy, Maxar Technologies
The letters of support below were submitted for the committee’s consideration of the bill on June 8, 2017:
“Quietly, for many years, a debate has taken place in government and commercial space policy circles about the proper legal structure for handling actions by U.S. entities that take place far from Earth. The American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017 brilliantly resolves some of the contradictions inherent in more traditional models and proposes a new and, in my opinion, very effective legal structure for future activities.” – Jeff Greason, CEO, Agile Aero
“The Act has a number of important provisions, including simplifying and strengthening the outdated space-based remote sensing regulatory system. The Act will also enhance U.S. compliance with international obligations, improve national security, and eliminate cumbersome regulatory barriers facing new and innovative space technology companies.” – Guy P. Seeley, Ph.D., president, Atmospheric and Environmental Research
“The Act has a number of important provisions, most important is that the proposed legislation will simplify and strengthen the outdated space-based remote sensing regulatory system.” – Geoff Crowley, Ph.D., president & chief scientist, Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Associates (ASTRA) LLC
“As a company who envisions a purely commercial business model, requesting no government funding and no guarantee of a government anchor tenant, we rely heavily on outside investment. Investors are, in turn, very focused on understanding risk, which includes knowing the impact of government-imposed regulation. For this reason, Axiom Space is fully supportive of the intent of the Act – to maximize certainty while minimizing the regulatory burden placed on new and innovative space companies.” – Michael Suffredini, president and CEO, Axiom Space, LLC
“Bigelow Aerospace strongly endorses the core principles of the ASCFEA to ensure a regulatory ‘light touch’ approach that enables technological innovation and also helps promote safe operations in space under an authorization schema though the registration of space objects. I applaud the committee working tirelessly on a bipartisan approach that upholds and enhances American leadership in space as well as lays the foundation for commercial space activities grow and flourish.” – Christopher M. Hearsey, director of legislative affairs, Bigelow Aerospace, LLC
“The member companies and institutions of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation are in strong agreement with all of the goals and most of the key elements of your legislation: significant reform of the Commerce Department’s obsolete, burdensome, and dysfunctional regime for licensing commercial remote sensing satellites is especially welcome.” – Eric Stallmer, president, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
“We support the creation of a single authority for the registration of nongovernmental space activities located at the Department of Commerce Office of Space Commerce; as well as, maintaining our international obligations to the Outer Space Treaty and recognizing any safety risks posed to our existing federal space systems.” – Dr. Devrie S. Intriligator, director, Space Plasma Laboratory, Carmel Research Center, Inc.
“Under the proposed legislation, the space-based remote sensing regulatory system would undergo regularization and simplification, which is of particular importance to companies like ours that plan to develop new commercial remote sensing capabilities and seek a predictable regulatory regime for such activities. The Act would also ensure U.S. compliance with international obligations, promote evidence-based regulation, improve national security and eliminate cumbersome regulatory barriers facing new and innovative space technology companies.” – Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., VADM USN (ret.) and CEO, GeoOptics
“As the first U.S. company to request and receive U.S. governmental ‘mission approval’ to send a private robotic spacecraft beyond traditional Earth orbit and to the Moon, we can attest to the need for certainty of process within a framework of minimal regulatory burden... This legislation creates a clear, objective, transparent, timely and appealable process for American companies like Moon Express to pursue innovative commercial space activities beyond traditional Earth orbit.” – Dr. Robert Richards, founder, president & CEO, Moon Express Inc.
“Panasonic is in strong support of the bi-partisan efforts in the development of this bill, and we support efforts to bring it before the House of Representatives as soon as possible.” – Neil Jacobs, Panasonic
“SIA strongly supports these goals addressed in the draft legislation; we applaud the sponsors of this bill and the Committee’s leadership for their efforts to date to advance reform of the commercial remote sensing regulatory regime. SIA believes that introducing greater transparency and discipline into the U.S. Government’s regulatory review processes will ultimately encourage industry growth and bring a multitude of benefits to the U.S. economy and security.” – Tom Stroup, president, Satellite Industry Association
“This legislation makes clear that the Committee has given thought to a long view of how to best enable American industry and entrepreneurs to pursue space commerce activities aimed at exploring, developing, and utilizing space resources.” – Jim Ball, president, Spaceport Strategies LLC
“The Act has a number of important provisions… the Act will enhance U.S. compliance with international obligations, will serve to improve national security and eliminates cumbersome regulatory barriers facing new and innovative space technology companies.” – W. Kent Tobiska, president, Space Environment Technologies
“Given that enabling both space development and space settlement are vital to the strategic future of the United States, we need a solution that ensures we will not only continue to meet our obligations under the Outer Space Treaty, but also encourages and enables new non-governmental space activities to be pursued. Therefore, we are glad to see long-standing issues related to commercial remote sensing licenses are being addressed, and that a transparent, timely, and appealable regulatory process would be available for new non-traditional space activities upon passage of this bill.” – Andrew Newman, chairman, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space; Josh Guild, interim executive director, Space Frontier Foundation
“It is so important that rules and regulations support and not hinder industry’s ability to grow and innovate. We believe this bill will do just that by presuming approval, redefining what needs to be regulated, streamlining the permitting process with actionable deadlines, increasing transparency and establishing an Assistant Secretary of Space Commerce.” – Jonathan Rosenblatt, general counsel, Spire Global, Inc.; Robbie Schingler, co-founder & chief strategy officer, Planet Labs, Inc. ; Marcy Steinke, senior vice president, government relations & public policy, DigitalGlobe, Inc.
“This legislation clearly reflects the Committee’s continued bipartisan support for America’s commercial space industry.” -Stu Witt, Witt & Associates
Letters of support for the American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act can be found here:
Maxar Technologies (added April 24, 2018)