Status Report

“Commercial Human Spaceflight” – Opening Statement of Chairman Rohrabacher

By SpaceRef Editor
July 24, 2003
Filed under ,

House Subcommittee on Space & Aeronautics

Thursday, July 24, 2003

I want to thank my colleague Senator Brownback for his leadership in determining American’s space policy. Today we will examine the barriers to investing in entrepreneurial space ventures. Dennis Tito’s historic trip to International Space Station made the dream of citizen space traveler a reality. He and other visionaries are now at the forefront in revolutionizing space transportation by supporting suborbital commercial human spaceflight.

The benefits these ventures offer, however, go way beyond offering joyrides for rich guys. Opening space to those willing to pay for the experience of it offers our industrial-base a new source of technical innovation well beyond government’s sphere of activities. Simply put, by building and flying space launch vehicles, commercial space entrepreneurs have overcome a barrier that apparently continues to plague NASA’s bureaucratic inertia.

Unfortunately, a major barrier for new space launch ventures is the uncertainty in government’s ability to create a stable regulatory environment. It is clear the future of space commercialization hinges on the Federal Aviation Administration’s ability to resolve the issue of how to regulate commercial human spaceflight operations. In my view, the federal government has the power to promote investor confidence by providing clear regulatory guidelines for commercial space transportation operators, or strangle the baby in the cradle.

Senator Brownback and I are interested to helping this nascent industry realize its tremendous growth potential. Our witnesses will provide us with a private sector prospective regarding these and other critical issues.

I welcome the opportunity to learn from the entrepreneurs who are revolutionizing the commercial space industry.

SpaceRef staff editor.