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SST Committee Approves Space Exploration and Entrepreneurship Bills

Mar 22, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, chaired by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), today unanimously approved two bills that enhance space exploration and one bill that updates the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps).

The American Leadership in Space Technology and Advanced Rocketry Act, or the ALSTAR Act, (H.R. 5345) was introduced Tuesday by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), vice chairman of the Space Subcommittee. The Commercial Space Support Vehicle Act (H.R. 5346) was introduced Tuesday by Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.), a member of the Space Subcommittee. The Innovators to Entrepreneurs Act (H.R. 5086) was introduced on February 26, 2018, by Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), ranking member on the Research and Technology Subcommittee, and cosponsored by Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), a member of the Research and Technology Subcommittee.

Chairman Smith: “Vice Chairman Brooks’ and Rep. Posey’s bills help maintain America’s standing as the world leader in space exploration by supporting NASA and the growing commercial space sector. The Innovators to Entrepreneurs Act, introduced by Rep. Lipinski and cosponsored by Rep. Webster, builds upon the NSF I-Corps program by adding a course to help research ventures that are ready for commercialization. This bill is an important addition to the successful I-Corps program, which connects scientists with the private sector to better market their ideas. I thank Vice Chairman Brooks, Rep. Posey, Rep. Lipinski and Rep. Webster for their initiative on these bills.”

Vice Chairman Brooks: “The Tennessee Valley has a rich history of supporting the space industry and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, which is why I’m proud to have introduced the American Leadership in Space Technology and Advanced Rocketry Act (ALSTAR Act). This bill will ensure the long-term stability of the rocket propulsion industry through better coordination and collaboration between all relevant stakeholders. With Marshall leading the charge to explore and develop new rocket propulsion technology in conjunction with its partners, NASA can inspire the next generation to look to the stars and aspire to do the impossible.”

Rep. Posey: “Companies would like to utilize space support vehicles to train crews and spaceflight participants by exposing them to the physiological effects encountered in spaceflight or conduct research in reduced gravity environments. This legislation creates a foundation for more companies to engage in human space flight activities and support commercial space operations. I would like to thank Rep. Al Lawson, Chairman Lamar Smith and Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin for their support of this important, bipartisan legislation.”

Rep. Lipinski: “The federal government invests billions of dollars in research and development annually. I-Corps is a modest investment that leads to a big return on federally funded research by significantly increasing rates of research commercialization, economic activity, and job creation. Just as the creation of the I-Corps program addressed an unmet need and helped scientist-entrepreneurs bring their ideas closer to market, the Innovators to Entrepreneurs Act will fill an additional skills gap and empower more aspiring job creators to access the private capital they need to be commercially successful.”

Rep. Webster: “This bill allows the proven Innovation Corps program to expand by adding a course that will focus on the essential skills of starting a successful and scalable business. The Innovation Corps program, known as I-Corps, was created by the National Science Foundation in 2011 to teach scientists and engineers how to turn their laboratory innovations into successful commercial products and services. We have witnessed the wonderful success of this program in my home state of Florida, and across the nation.”

Background

H.R. 5345, the American Leadership in Space Technology and Advanced Rocketry Act (ALSTAR Act), designates Marshall Space Flight Center as NASA’s lead center for rocket propulsion and establishes it as essential to sustaining and promoting U.S. leadership in rocket propulsion and supporting the development of next generation rocket propulsion capabilities. The bill text can be found here.

H.R. 5346, the Commercial Space Support Vehicle Act, provides for licenses and experimental permits for space support vehicles. The bill text can be found here.

H.R. 5086, the Innovators to Entrepreneurs Act, requires the director of NSF to develop an Innovation Corps course to support commercialization-ready research ventures. The NSF I-Corps program provides entrepreneurial training to scientists and engineers. The bill text can be found here.

Issues: 
115th Congress