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Senate Passes Commercial Space Legislation With Key Rubio Measures

Nov 11, 2015 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) welcomed last night’s Senate passage of commercial space legislation that emerged from a House-Senate conference committee. The final bill includes key provisions from Rubio and is expected to pass the House next week before heading to the president to be signed into law.‎
“Throughout our entire economy, we need to eliminate unnecessary regulations that cost too much and make it harder for American innovators to create jobs,” Rubio said. “The reforms included here make it easier for our innovators to return Americans to suborbital space and will help the American space industry continue pushing further into space than ever before. This is an important win for Florida’s space exploration community, and it should soon become law.”‎
Following House passage of the SPACE Act in May and Senate passage of the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitive Act in August, which Rubio sponsored, an agreement was reached that combined the two bills for final passage. Once passed by the House, which is expected as early as next week, the bill will be sent to the president for his signature and become law.
The final legislation includes the following two proposals Rubio had previously authored in the Senate, including one related to commercial recovery of space resources, a direct benefit to Florida’s space coast:

  • A provision which would create license flexibility and enable operators of commercial reusable launch vehicles to get more utility out of the experimental permits the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issues for test flights; and
  • A provision which would facilitate commercial exploration for and commercial recovery of space resources; discourage government barriers to the development in the U.S. of viable industries for commercial exploration and recovery of space resources; promote the right of U.S. citizens to engage in commercial exploration and recovery of space resources free from harmful interference; and create asteroid and space resources rights for commercial entities, creating investment certainty for future resource exploration.

A PDF of the legislation is available here.