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Press Release
Media Contact: 800-787-7223 or press@space-frontier.org
Congratulations to the House for Landslide Vote Supporting New Commercial Space! Now it's Time for the Senate to Step Up to the Plate

Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert
Photo of Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert courtesy United States Congress.
Los Angeles, CA, March 9, 2004 – The Space Frontier Foundation applauds the House of Representatives for its strong nonpartisan support of H.R. 3752, the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004 (CSLA), which passed this week by a vote of 402-1. The legislation, which streamlines and clarifies the processes needed to certify new space transportation systems, clears the bureaucratic runway so a host of new commercial spaceships being designed across America can soon begin to fly.

Rick Tumlinson, a Founder of the Space Frontier Foundation, stated, “we congratulate Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert, congressman Dana Rohrabacher and their colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their vision and support of this important legislation. These changes, once enacted, will enable our nation's space entrepreneurs to spend their time flying into space rather than filling out a stack of forms so high that it could reach space,” he continued. “It is a tremendous breakthrough, whose effect will ripple through time.”

The CSLA clarifies the regulations for commercial space projects by identifying the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) as the sole office responsible for regulating commercial launch vehicles. There have been internal disagreements within the FAA of how to handle these new vehicles, since they don't fit neatly within any existing jurisdictional category, resulting in uncertainty and stalling the pace of their development.

“It is clear AST is the right place for these first-generation vehicles. There will now be clear partner in the U.S. government they can work with and who understands them,” advised Tumlinson. “These early rocketships will lead to more capable spaceships that will fly in orbit, to the Moon, and beyond – so that when our descendants look back at Earth from distant worlds, they will recall this legislation as a major moment in human space flight history.”

The CSLA now goes to the Senate, where passage will lead to what the Foundation believes will be the dawn of the era of commercial human space flight. The organization, which has long championed these alternative (or alt.space) firms and is home to many of the founders and operators of these companies, is hopeful that the legislation will not get bogged down in the Senate. Until then, having already invested millions of dollars developing their rocket ships, these firms will be tied to the ground by red tape – keeping new investors at bay and threatening to kill what may well be the next great technological revolution.

Tumlinson continued, “this is a visionary bill that will change the future of the world as much as government support for the pioneers of aviation did at the beginning of the last century. It maintains a flat budget for AST, creates a whole new industry, protects the public and the environment and brings the day much closer when access to space for everyone is a reality rather than a dream.”

The Foundation strongly supports the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004 and calls on the Senate to pass it swiftly.

Chairman Boehlert's full statement on HR 3752 can be seen at: http://www.house.gov/science/press/108/108-195.htm.

The Space Frontier Foundation is an organization of people dedicated to opening the Space Frontier to human settlement as rapidly as possible. Our goals include protecting the Earth's fragile biosphere and creating a freer and more prosperous life for each generation by using the unlimited energy and material resources of space. Our purpose is to unleash the power of free enterprise and lead a united humanity permanently into the Solar System.

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Our definition of a "frontier enabling" technology or policy is one which has as its effect the acceleration of the creation of low cost access to the space frontier for private citizens and companies, enables or accelerates our use of space resources, and/or accelerates the rate at which wealth can be generated in space. In other words, is the project or policy going to provide a return on the national investment, if we define "return" to be the economically sustainable human habitation of space?

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