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Space Subcommittee Approves Rohrabacher Bills

Oct 8, 2003

Washington, Oct 8, 2003 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House Science Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics today approved two of Rep. Rohrabacher's (CA-46) bills by voice vote, listed below.

H.R. 3245, “Commercial Space Act of 2003,” sponsored by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
This bill clarifies the legislative framework for commercial human space flight. Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Space Transportation (AST) regulates U.S. commercial space launches for television, telecommunications and imagery satellites. H.R. 3245 ensures that commercial launchers - such as those being built by entrepreneurs to take people to the edge of space - would also be regulated by AST.

Last July, the Space & Aeronautics Subcommittee held a joint hearing with the Senate Commerce Committee on the regulatory issues facing such commercial human space. All of the witnesses at that hearing called for legislation to clearly define the FAA's regulatory responsibilities on this issue.

“I believe that most Members of Congress share my view that the aerospace industry plays a critical role in advancing America’s space frontier,” said Subcommittee Chairman Rohrabacher. “This bill tells the Department of Transportation that this new commercial human space flight industry should be nurtured by streamlined and careful regulation”

The bill authorizes $11,523,000 and $11,000,000 for fiscal years 2004 and 2005, respectively, for the AST. The bill also authorizes $1,800,000 and $2,000,000 for fiscal years 2004 and 2005, respectively, for the Department of Commerce’s Office of Space Commerce, and delegates licensing authority for private-sector remote sensing systems to this Office.

H.R. 912, "Charles `Pete' Conrad Astronomy Awards Act,” sponsored by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
The Charles “Pete” Conrad Astronomy Awards Act, named for the third man to walk on the moon, establishes awards to encourage amateur astronomers to discover and track asteroids crossing in a near-earth orbit. Earth has experienced several near-misses with asteroids that would have proven catastrophic, and the scientific community relies heavily on amateur astronomers to discover and track these objects. The bill authorizes $10,000 for each of fiscal years 2004 and 2005 for NASA to administer the program. The House approved the bill by voice vote last year.

“Pete Conrad was a pilot, explorer, and entrepreneur of the highest caliber. I think it is fitting that we honor Pete Conrad by establishing this award to encourage amateur astronomers and private citizens to keep looking up and out into the future,” said Rohrabacher.