With passage of NASA bill, the commercial sector will take on primary role for Low Earth Orbit crew transportation:
Washington, D.C. – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation applauds last night’s historic vote by the House of Representatives approving the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, a bill already passed by the Senate on August 5. The legislation now goes to the President for his signature.
The bill specifies $1.612 billion for commercial crew and cargo programs, including $612 million in Fiscal Year 2011, and sets the stage for full funding of the commercial crew program over a 6-year period as stated by one of the bill’s primary authors, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida. The Commercial Crew Program will enable multiple companies, including established firms with decades of experience as well as newer entrepreneurial firms, to develop systems for crew transportation to and from the International Space Station in Low Earth Orbit. The bill also establishes the Office of the Chief Technologist, boosts total funding for technology R&D to $2.5 billion over three years, and strengthens the Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research Program with $45 million over three years.
Commercial Spaceflight Federation President Bretton Alexander stated, “Tomorrow marks the start of the new fiscal year and begins a historic new chapter for NASA. Marking a once-in-a-generation shift, Congress has established that commercial vehicles will now be the primary means of flying astronauts to Low Earth Orbit, allowing NASA to focus its own resources on exploring distant destinations like asteroids and Mars. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation looks forward to working in partnership with NASA to develop safe, reliable commercial capabilities to transport astronauts to and from Low Earth Orbit.”
Commercial Spaceflight Federation Executive Director John Gedmark remarked, “America’s space industry is taking a quantum leap forward with this historic shift. The United States has the innovation, the workforce, and the economic strength to achieve human spaceflight on a private basis, and it is by employing these unique strengths that we will maintain US leadership in space. This bill will allow multiple private companies to move forward with developing this capability that will not only save the taxpayers money, but will reduce our dependence on Russia and create thousands of new high-tech jobs in the process.”
Mark Sirangelo, Chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, concluded, “The bill represents a fundamental change in the way NASA does business, leveraging the complementary strengths of NASA and industry. The bill’s expanded funding for commercial crew and cargo, technology R&D, and commercial suborbital research will help accelerate the growth of the commercial spaceflight industry like never before. In the next decade, the commercial spaceflight industry will open up the space frontier to people from all walks of life– whether scientists, private astronauts, educators, or explorers.”
The Commercial Spaceflight Federation would like to thank all members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate who contributed to the passage of this historic legislation.
About the Commercial Spaceflight Federation
The mission of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is to promote the development of commercial human spaceflight, pursue ever-higher levels of safety, and share best practices and expertise throughout the industry. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation’s member companies, which include commercial spaceflight developers, operators, spaceports, suppliers, and service providers, are creating thousands of high- tech jobs nationwide, working to preserve American leadership in aerospace through technology innovation, and inspiring young people to pursue careers in science and engineering. For more information please visit www.commercialspaceflight.org or contact Executive Director John Gedmark at email@example.com or at 202.349.1121.