Members of Congress with constituencies featuring sizable commercial space interests praised the Senate’s recent passage of the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act.
The Senate passed the proposed legislation Nov. 10. Its key provisions include extending U.S. participation in the multinational International Space Station until 2024.
The legislation also would extend through 2023 a moratorium on new regulations affecting commercial space enterprise and extend through September 2025 indemnification provisions covering commercial launch contractors.
“This will help bolster an already thriving U.S. commercial space industry, especially in Florida where we are seeing an amazing transformation of the Kennedy Space Center into a bustling space port,” said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.
Sen. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, also a committee member, said the bill “provides the boost America’s private space partners need as they lead the world into the future.”
The House is expected to vote on the reconciled version of the legislation soon after Congress returns from recess Nov. 16, with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., saying he was pleased with the Senate action.
“The growth in commercial space represents the exceptionalism of the men and women who have led this country to heights not thought possible,” McCarthy said. “I plan to schedule this bill for final approval as early as possible and look forward to the president signing this important bill into law.”
The bill would cover even emerging deep-space missions such as the mining of asteroids for precious metals, and a couple companies active in that segment were quick to sing its praises.
Chris Lewicki, president and chief engineer of Planetary Resources, said the new legislation would “open many avenues for the continual growth and prosperity of humanity.”
Deep Space Industries chairman Rick Tumlinson, called the legislation an “historic step forward (that) demonstrates that Congress can effectively and quickly pass legislation that is important to the country’s economic future.”