The Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act is now law.
President Obama signed the legislation, extending U.S. participation in the International Space Station and setting the stage for the next several years of cooperation between the commercial space sector and NASA.
The newly enacted legislation extends through 2023 a moratorium on new regulations affecting commercial space enterprise. It also extends through September 2025 indemnification provisions covering commercial launch contractors.
The space legislation originated in the House, which passed a previous version in May. That was sent to the Senate, where a bicameral committee reconciled the two bills for unanimous approval by the Senate and then again in the House.
Another impact of the new law will be the first-time legalization of certain kinds of commercial asteroid-mining missions. Planetary Resources, a company that seeks to pursue such missions, applauded the president’s signing of the act into law.
“This is the single greatest recognition of property rights in history,” company co-chairman Eric Anderson said. “This legislation establishes the same supportive framework that created the great economies of history, and will encourage the sustained development of space.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was among elected officials from states with commercial space interests to laud the new law.
“Throughout our entire economy, we need to eliminate unnecessary regulations that cost too much and make it harder for American innovators to create jobs,” Rubio said. “The reforms included here make it easier for our innovators to return Americans to suborbital space and will help the American space industry continue pushing further into space than ever before.”