Status Report

Chairwoman Johnson’s Opening Statement for Overview of Commercial Space Industry Hearing

By SpaceRef Editor
July 25, 2019
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Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics is holding a hearing titled, “The Commercial Space Landscape: Innovation, Market, and Policy.”


Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson’s (D-TX) opening statement for the record is below.


Good afternoon, and thank you Chairwoman Horn for holding this hearing on the “Commercial Space Landscape.” I also want to welcome our witnesses. It’s good to have you here and we appreciate your participation.


Since the 1980s, this Committee has been at the forefront of guiding the evolution of the commercial space industry. The legislation it has put forward–and had enacted into law–has been instrumental in providing the framework for what are now robust and growing commercial space launch and space-based remote sensing industries.


NASA Authorization Acts that this Committee has led have encouraged and authorized government-commercial activities, including the commercial resupply services that deliver cargo and supplies to the International Space Station. In addition, many of our government R&D investments have translated into commercial opportunities. This is one of many positive outcomes of our taxpayers’ investments.


In short, I strongly support the future growth and success of the United States commercial space industry. I also want this Committee to continue to be on the cutting-edge of enabling commercial space and providing carefully considered policy guidance to support it. In the waning hours of the last Congress, there were attempts to pass commercial space legislation.  That was a rushed effort and not the optimal way to legislate on such important matters as the future of commercial space. We need to get it right.


So I am pleased, Madame Chair, that you are holding this overview hearing, because a lot is changing and we need to be fully informed before developing policy. The Administration is proposing new regulations for commercial space launch and reentry, and also for commercial space-based remote sensing. We need to understand those changes and any implications of them. We also need to understand the government’s role in commercial space, the appropriate ways in which the government can leverage commercial capabilities, and any associated risks to the taxpayer.


In closing, I want to commend our commercial space companies that are making such impressive progress.  There’s not a week that goes by without reading about a significant milestone in a commercial program, the deployment of a new capability in space, or an innovative plan that is attracting commercial investment. 


Well, it’s clear there is a lot to discuss today, and I look forward to our witnesses’ testimony. Thank you, and I yield back. 


SpaceRef staff editor.