Committee on Science


Ralph M. Hall, Texas, Ranking Democrat

Press Contacts:

Jeff Lungren (

Jeff Donald (

(202) 225-4275

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With broad bipartisan support, the House yesterday passed
H.R. 2607, the Commercial Space Transportation Competitiveness Act, by a
voice vote. The bill now goes to the President for final approval.

H.R. 2607 extends launch indemnification to the U.S. commercial launch
industry for four more years, through the end of 2004. The federal
government first decided to indemnify commercial launch companies against
catastrophic losses as a means of rebuilding a launch industry that was
critical for national security. In addition, the bill authorizes funds for
the Offices of Advanced Space Transportation and Space Commerce in the
Departments of Transportation and Commerce.

The bill’s sponsor, Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairman Dana
Rohrabacher, (R-CA) said, “Passage of H.R. 2607 signals continued
congressional support of a highly competitive launch industry in today’s
global market. This legislation enables the U.S. Government to maintain a
stable business environment so that the private sector can become more
competitive. Moreover, by directing the Administration to examine more
innovative legal approaches for indemnification, we begin a new chapter in
U.S. space development in the 21st Century.”

House Science Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., (R-WI) added,
“By extending commercial launch indemnification, this bill helps build a
solid foundation for commercial launch companies. This foundation enhances
our national security by encouraging private firms to invest in improving
U.S. space launch capabilities and maintaining U.S. competitiveness with
launchers from Europe, Russia, the Ukraine and China. I hope the President
will quickly sign this important bipartisan legislation into law.”

Science Committee Ranking Minority Member Ralph M. Hall, (D-TX) said, “The
Commercial Space Competitiveness Act was the top legislative priority for
the American space launch industry. It is in our Nation’s interest that we
continue to be world leaders in the launch industry. This bill provides the
framework of support and incentives the industry indicates they need to keep
their premier status. I am pleased that the Science Committee could play a
central role in moving this legislation to completion.”

Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Ranking Minority Member Bart Gordon,
(D-TN), also an original co-sponsor of the bill, noted, “The key achievement
of this bill is an extension of the commercial space indemnification
provisions. Those provisions, first enacted in 1988, have provided a highly
effective risk-sharing system that has helped our launch industry compete
with the world. Since their enactment 12 years ago, these provisions
haven’t cost the taxpayer one dollar in claims.”