Virginia Could Lead the Way in Commercial Space

Launch complexes on Wallops Island, Virginia

Space technology leadership rests with Va. delegation
by Jack Kennedy

Russia, China and India either have, or will have, vibrant human space launch capabilities by before the close of the next decade. The Russians and the Chinese will have multiple human to orbit capable space launch facilities by mid-decade now under construction.

If America is to continue as a leader is space technology, scientific research, and exploration, NASA needs a new and inspiring leadership role that abdicates the role of monopoly access provider to low earth orbit. NASA needs a strong commercial space launch sector regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration. The Senate measure provides it while the House measure simply does not.

The two Virginia NASA facilities at Langley and Wallops fair much better with the Senate measure, as compared to the flawed House committee measure. Virginia’s commercial spaceport, co-located on the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, will stand ready to commence commercial cargo delivery to the International Space Station next year.

The thunderous roar of rockets lifting cargo to space from Virginia’s Eastern Shore next summer is symbolic of the many opportunities that are now exist, but only with final enactment of the Senate-passed bill provisions. Virginia can be a significant part of a NewSpace Age of commercial spaceflight to and from low earth orbit of cargo, and similarly, humans in this decade. The FAA recently authorized the permit for take-off and re-entry.

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