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House Defers Vote on Commercial Space Act

Mission authorization

House Defers Vote on Commercial Space Act

Rep. Frank Lucas, chairman of the House Science Committee, has put off a vote on a commercial space bill until after Thanksgiving due to the White House’s release of a related legislative proposal.

Co-introduced by Lucas earlier in November, the Commercial Space Act of 2023 would establish a mission authorization system at the Department of Commerce and direct the organization to transfer responsibility for a civil space traffic coordination system to a nonprofit or academic-led consortium, SpaceNews reported.

The White House proposal, meanwhile, would have the Commerce and Transportation departments oversee currently unregulated activities.

Lucas said the White House’s proposal would unduly expand government authority by imposing new rules and license requirements. He also criticized it for not extending a soon-to-expire learning period preventing Federal Aviation Administration regulations on commercial human spaceflight.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the committee’s ranking member, suggested that the White House proposal be reviewed before moving forward with the current bill. Lofgren opposed elements of the Commercial Space Act, including a certification process she said would limit interagency reviews of license applications.

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Category: Space