Laws Catch Up To Private Space Race...

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

House Passes Key Bill...

U.S. space entrepreneurs have been tackling the technological and physical challenges of private space exploration for years but the fledgling industry may be on the cusp of overcoming its biggest obstacle. The government is poised to formally recognize its existence. The House, Friday, passed H.R. 3752, a bill to regulate and promote a commercial space industry. It still must pass the Senate and be signed by the president. "We think H.R. 3752 is very carefully crafted legislation which will help commercial human spaceflight develop in America," said Jeff Greason, president of Xcor Aerospace, which has already developed and tested rocket-engine prototypes with the eventual goal of providing rides for space tourists. The legislation puts the regulatory authority for all commercial suborbital flights under the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation. It also creates an experimental permit that requires less red tape than existing permits required to build and test suborbital spacecraft. Finally, it extends government indemnification of the industry for three years, after which the protection will be phased out and, as Greason puts it, a "fly-at-your-own-risk" human spaceflight regime is established.