WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives today unanimously passed the American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act (H.R. 2809), which simplifies and strengthens the space-based remote sensing regulatory system, enhances U.S. compliance with international obligations, improves national security and removes regulatory barriers facing new and innovative space operators. The bill is sponsored by House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).
Chairman Smith: “American innovators, driven by ingenuity, competitive spirit and bold vision, are the future of space exploration. The American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act ensures they continue to innovate right here in the United States. This transformative and ground-shaking legislation facilitates commercial lift-off and declares that America is fully ‘open for business’ in space. I appreciate the bipartisan support for this bill from my colleagues.”
Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas): “By passing this innovative legislation, we are signaling loud and clear that America is open for business in space. The American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act is a common-sense bipartisan bill that streamlines the regulatory process, limits government intrusion, promotes American innovation and investment, protects national security, and satisfies our Outer Space Treaty obligations. I am proud to be a co-author on this bill with Chairman Smith and recently-confirmed NASA Administrator Bridenstine.”
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.): “In today’s quest for understanding the final frontier, the commercial space industry is helping lead the way. That’s why I’m proud to support this bill that will create a more innovative and transparent regulatory environment to ensure continued American exceptionalism in space exploration. With this legislation, those leading our journey in space can remain confident that needless delays back on Earth will not be slowing them down. Thanks to Chairman Lamar Smith (TX-21) for his leadership on this legislation and tireless work to promote American interests in space.”
The American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017:
- Enacts a presumption of approval for all private sector space activities, including remote sensing
- Creates a one-stop shop for U.S. authorization and supervision of nongovernmental space activities in the Commerce Secretary’s Office of Space Commerce
- Establishes a transparent self-certification authorization process for commercial on-orbit space operations
- Provides federal review to assure nongovernmental space activities conform to the United States’ Outer Space Treaty obligations
- Addresses concerns that private space operations may pose a safety risk to existing government space systems
- Reforms the space-based remote sensing licensing process to support innovation and entrepreneurship
- Holds the federal government accountable by requiring evidence-based justification for licensing decisions
- Strictly enforces deadlines with approval by default to ensure the government makes timely decisions
- Preserves the ability to condition remote sensing operations to protect national security
- Enhances national security by ensuring insight into operations and capabilities and by creating a competitive environment that discourages offshoring
Chairman Smith introduced the bill on June 7, 2017, and the Science Committee approved the bill unanimously on June 8, 2017.
The bill is cosponsored by Rep. Babin, former Rep. Jim Bridenstine, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas), Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.), Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Fla.), Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.).
Text of the bill can be found here.
A list of growing support for the bill can be found here.