Status Report

Letter to Congress From The Commercial Spaceflight Federation Regarding The NASA Authorization Bill

By SpaceRef Editor
January 27, 2020
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The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson Chair, Committee on Science & Technology U.S House of Representatives

The Honorable Kendra Horn Chair, Subcommittee on Subcommittee on Space & Aeronautics Committee on Science & Technology U.S. House of Representatives

The Honorable Frank Lucas Ranking Member, Committee on Science & Technology U.S. House of Representatives

The Honorable Brian Babin Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics Committee on Science & Technology U.S. House of Representatives

Chairwoman Johnson, Chairwoman Horn, Ranking Member Lucas, and Ranking Member Babin:

On behalf of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF), representing over 85 member companies, organizations, and universities across the United States, we write to express our strong opposition to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Act of 2020, as well as the process through which the bill was formulated. Although we appreciate the Committee’s attention to matters relating to space policy, this legislation as drafted falls far short of our shared goal of establishing a sustainable national space exploration enterprise. This legislation will set back America’s national space enterprise for decades, ceding ground to global competitors that leverage their national capability, as it rejects the proven capability demonstrated by the commercial space sector, a core competency and foundation of American innovation driven by the commercial space industry.

The U.S. commercial space industry—a unique feature of American innovation—drives significant economic value nationwide; more importantly, it has contributed to the success of the American space sector at the very time that traditional models have clearly failed. Yet, the House Science Committee’s bill explicitly and unfairly excludes the participation of the American commercial spaceflight industry, irrationally barring fair competition from NASA’s deep space exploration initiatives. At a time when NASA itself has acknowledged the criticality of leveraging commercial space innovation, it is profoundly disappointing that this Committee has, without consultation with NASA or industry, selected a path that will systematically degrade America’s space capability. 

Any sustainable space exploration effort must bring together the best of Government and commercial industry to achieve a safe and affordable American space program. The Committee’s draft bill unfortunately does not even contemplate the possibility of this collaboration. CSF and its members, which contribute daily to advancing our Nation’s space enterprise, strongly oppose this legislation. 

This Committee should withdraw this bill and engage in a fully transparent process to seek NASA, industry, academic, and public input in a meaningful way. This legislation was apparently drafted with no input from critical stakeholders, the public, or even Members of the Committee, and should be reconsidered. We are—as American companies and the Government—one team. We look forward to the Committee adopting a more equitable approach to understanding the totality of American space industry capability. We will work with the Committee to improve this legislation, should the Committee be open to doing so.



Eric W. Stallmer


Commercial Spaceflight Federation

SpaceRef staff editor.