Washington, D.C. – Today Congress unveiled the fiscal year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill (Senate amendment to H.R. 2029), comprehensive legislation that allocates spending for the federal government for the current fiscal year. Reflecting the Commercial Spaceflight Federation’s top priorities, the bill includes funding and guidance for all NASA programs and the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST).
“I want to extend my thanks and congratulations to lawmakers for their hard work in crafting this bill. Also, I would like to commend the House and Senate Appropriators for continuing to work with us throughout this entire process to responsibly support NASA’s public-private partnerships and the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation to maintain the United State’s competitive edge in space,” said CSF President Eric Stallmer. “The funding levels in this legislation reaffirms strong bipartisan, bicameral support for public-private partnerships that harness commercial space capabilities to help build a sustainable American expansion into the solar system from the edge of space to low-Earth orbit and beyond.”
This bill funds NASA at $19.285 billion in FY 2016, an increase of $1.3 billion above FY 2015. Within the NASA portfolio, the bill fully funds the Commercial Crew Program to enable the United States to achieve safe, reliable, and independent human access to the International Space Station by 2017. The bill also includes critical monies to initiate development of a habitation augmentation module which will maximize the potential of the SLS and Orion deep space exploration architecture starting with their launch in 2018. The bill fully funds the Flight Opportunities program to enable affordable testing of new technologies necessary for future exploration plans, and provides critical training opportunities needed to sustain a skilled workforce. Finally, the bill provides funds for the 21st Century Space Launch Complex for all NASA-owned launch facilities to ensure that vital infrastructure for NASA missions are eligible for critical upgrades.
The bill also provides $17.8 million, and increase of $1.2 million over FY 15, for FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, plus $2 million for Commercial Space Transportation Safety, and $2 million within Research, Engineering and Development to better integrate commercial launch and reentry “traffic” with the National Airspace System. FAA AST plays a critical role in providing timely review and approval of launch and reentry licenses, experimental and spaceport licenses for the commercial space industry. CSF applauds the increase in funding for AST, but their budget will continue to constrain their ability to fulfill their responsibilities to industry as it is projected to grow. It is critical that FAA AST have the resources it needs to work with the industry in a manner that will continue to promote growth, and ensure public safety.
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 Jane Kinney at Jane@commercialspaceflight.org or 202.715.2928.