Washington, Apr 19 (Bill Posey PR) — Today, Congressman Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) introduced legislation to allow for private sector investment in the Department of Defense for space transportation in an effort to modernize America’s defense capabilities, promote America’s commercial space industry and help America regain the loss of commercial launches.
“A priority for me is working to secure America’s leadership in launch vehicles, technology and operations and this bill helps us do that,” said Congressman Bill Posey. “We have been losing launches to overseas competitors and that is not good for our economic competiveness or our national security. We need to change that direction and my bill will do that. This bill is a win-win.”
Posey added, “Space is the 21st Century military high ground and so much in our daily lives is now dependent on space and space technology from cell phone and wireless communications to bank transactions, weather reports, GPS and the Internet.”
“We commend Congressman Posey for his tenacity in stripping away bureaucratic impediments,” said Frank DiBello, President of Space Florida. “This new relationship will assure a more robust partnership between the State and the Pentagon. Through this legislation the taxpayer and the war-fighter will benefit as the commercial and military activity in Brevard move into a stronger and more diversified future.”
The RACE for Space Act (Revitalizing America’s Commercial Entrepreneurs (RACE) for Space Act) expands the Department of Defense’ role to enhance strong partnerships between the Department of Defense and the private sector commercial entities. The legislation does not spend any taxpayer money but does allow commercial space companies to use Defense Department space transportation infrastructure such as launch pads.
“Imagine a day without the ability to do basic things like use an ATM or make a phone call. The targeting of satellites and the International Space Station are very real scenarios and in the modern age, the Defense Department should have the best capability to protect us from space-born threats,” said Posey. “Assured access to space is key for our national security, our economic security, and restoring America’s leadership in human space flight. With Russia and China investing heavily to surpass us in space, now is the time to return to engage fully in the race for space and H.R. 4401 helps us do just that.”
Editor’s Note: This is something that the DoD has been working on for quite some time. Last year, supporters were working at that time to get a consensus among different stakeholders. The introduction of the bill indicates that process is likely complete.
Current law “limits DoD to accepting reimbursement from commercial space companies for excess capacity in the form of launch property, facilities, or direct support services,” according to a presentation made during a FAA COMSTAC meeting last May. “DoD is not allowed to accept non-DoD funding to enable or improve operation of commercial space launch capabilities, augmentation of DoD capabilities for commercial purposes, or adding commercial requirements to DoD contracts to extend/expand services in support of commercial Space launch activities.”
A key problem is that although provisions require NASA, FAA and the Department of Commerce to “facilitate & provide excess Gov’t launch services and range support to the US commercial space industry,” the DoD owns most of those facilities and services. Current law does not give DoD that same authority or the ability to directly partner with the private sector.