A coalition of space policy
organizations and aerospace companies today urged the Congress to pass
the Commercial Space Act of 2003 (HR 3245) in an expeditious manner.
This bill, introduced in the House by a bipartisan group, will clarify
and streamline a muddled and uncertain regulatory regime faced by the
emerging American suborbital space flight industry.

“The suborbital launch industry offers tremendous promise,” said Brian
Chase, Executive Director of the National Space Society. “The tourism
component alone could be worth billions of dollars per year, and has
the real potential to jump-start our stagnant aerospace sector. The
United States has the opportunity to be the leader in this exciting
market, but without steps like this legislation we may see it move to
other countries.”

The bill, introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Rep. Ralph Hall
(D-TX) and Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), directs the Secretary of
Transportation to set up an enabling regulatory regime for commercial
human space flight, separate from that under which the FAA governs
commercial aviation.

Most important, the bill confirms the FAA ‘d5s Office of Commercial Space
Transportation (AST) as the sole authority to license suborbital launch
vehicles, and provides clear guidance that its primary mission is to
aid this new industry with reasonable regulation that will help develop
suborbital vehicles and companies. This will end the confusion within
FAA about which bureau has jurisdiction over these vehicles.

“The most effective way to make suborbital flight safe is to allow
innovative ideas,” said XCOR Aerospace CEO Jeff Greason. “By resolving
regulatory uncertainty, this bill creates an environment that will
attract investment to an industry that has the potential to produce
quality, high-paying jobs.”

“This legislation protects the safety of the general public while
allowing entrepreneurs and adventure travelers to pursue their dream of
participating in human spaceflight, ” said James Muncy of PoliSpace, a
space policy consultant working for several suborbital RLV-interested

The coalition is made up of major space policy organizations, aerospace
companies and consultants. They are joined by Mr. Dennis Tito, the
first private citizen to pay his own way into space. Their joint aim is
to assist the suborbital industry in its development and to assure
American leadership in this important emerging industry.