H.R. 2262, SPACE Act of 2015 (Senate amendment)

H.R. 2262

SPACE Act of 2015 (Senate amendment)

Date
November 16, 2015 (114th Congress, th Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, November 16, 2015, the House will consider the Senate amendment to H.R. 2262, the Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship (SPACE) Act of 2015, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 2262 was introduced on May 12, 2015, by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and was referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, which ordered the bill reported, as amended, by a vote of 18 to 13, on May 13, 2015.  The House passed H.R. 2262 by a vote of 284 to 133 on May 21, 2015.  The Senate then passed the bill, with an amendment, by unanimous consent on November 10, 2015.

Bill Summary

H.R. 2262 is designed to facilitate a pro-growth environment for the developing commercial space industry by encouraging private sector investment, creating more stable and predictable regulatory conditions, and improving safety. The bill directs the Department of Transportation (DOT), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to submit various reports to the Congress regarding commercial space operations and services, industry practices, as well as the potential liabilities associated with commercial space launches.  Click here for the previous Legislative Digest on the House-passed version of the bill.

The legislation includes three other bills passed by the House as part of H.R. 2262. The Senate amendment includes modifications made by House and Senate negotiators:

H.R. 2261, the Commercial Remote Sensing Act of 2015:  H.R. 2261, sponsored by Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), directs the Department of Commerce, within 180 days of enactment and annually thereafter, to report to Congress on: (1) the implementation of its authority to license private entities to operate private remote sensing space systems; (2) all notifications and information provided to the Department by licensees; and (3) all administrative actions taken to adjust penalties for violations of licensing requirements, issue subpoenas, and seize by warrant material necessary to investigate violations of licensing requirements.  The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology ordered the bill reported by voice vote on May 13, 2015.

H.R. 2263, the Office of Space Commerce Act:  H.R. 2263, sponsored by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), renames the Office of Space Commercialization within the Department of Commerce the Office of Space Commerce, and updates the functions of the Office so that it can more effectively pursue its mission of fostering the conditions of economic growth and technological advancement of the U.S. commercial space industry.  The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology ordered the bill reported by voice vote on May 13, 2015.

H.R. 1508, the Space Resource Exploration and Utilization Act of 2015: H.R. 1508, sponsored by Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), directs the President to facilitate commercial utilization, discourage government barriers, promote the right of United States commercial entities to explore outer space and utilize space resources, and affirms that U.S. citizens are entitled to space resources they obtain in outer space.  The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology ordered the bill reported by a vote of 18 to 15 on May 13, 2015.

Background

The commercial human space flight industry is still relatively young, but has grown significantly since the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004 (CSLAA). Entrepreneurial companies have raised billions of dollars with the intent of pioneering space tourism and other forms of commercial human space flight. Other companies are investing and developing the technical capability to explore and utilize outer space resources. Still others are investing in space-based remote sensing technologies, an industry which is experiencing unprecedented growth.[1]

Under current law, any individual or private entity wishing to conduct a commercial space launch or reentry in the U.S., or operate a launch or reentry site in the U.S., must obtain a license from the FAA. American citizens must also obtain authorization from the FAA to conduct commercial space launches or reentries or to operate launch or reentry sites abroad. DOT derives its authority over commercial space transportation from the Commercial Space Launch Act (CSLA) and has delegated that authority to the FAA’s Office of the Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation (AST).  AST has the dual mandate of regulating and promoting the commercial space transportation industry in the United States.[2]

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[1] House Report 114-119 at 8.
[2] Id.

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that enacting H.R. 2262 would cost “about $5 million over the next few years,” assuming the appropriation of necessary funds.

CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 2261 would cost $3 million over the 2016 to 2020 period.

CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 2263 would have no significant effect on the federal budget.

CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 1508 would cost about $1 million over the 2016 to 2020 period.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Jerry White with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.