U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) chaired on April 26th the first of a series of planned hearings to explore the reopening of the American frontier in space.

The hearing was titled “Reopening the American Frontier: Reducing the Regulatory Barriers and Expanding American Free Enterprise in Space,” and examined the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act signed into law in November 2015, potential regulatory barriers to address in future legislation, and ways to expand commercial opportunities for American firms in space.

Space entrepreneur, Robert Bigelow, explains his expansive plans for space.
Credit: Space Foundation

Four witnesses testified at the hearing, including:

  • Robert Bigelow, founder, Bigelow Aerospace
  • Rob Meyerson, President, Blue Origin
  • George Whitesides, CEO, Galactic Ventures
  • Andrew Rush, CEO, Made in Space

Investment and innovation

According to Senator Cruz, Congress needs to work to ensure that investment and innovation within the commercial space sector isn’t effectively chilled by obsolete regulations or overly burdensome requirements that may not naturally apply to new business models.

Virgin Spaceship Unity is unveiled in Mojave, California February 19th, 2016. VSS Unity is the first vehicle to be manufactured by The Spaceship Company, Virgin Galactic’s wholly owned manufacturing arm, and is the second vehicle of its design ever constructed. VSS Unity was unveiled in FAITH (Final Assembly Integration Test Hangar), the Mojave-based home of manufacturing and testing for Virgin Galactic’s human space flight program.
Credit: Mark Greenberg/Virgin Galactic

“As we look at the future of American free enterprise and settlement in space we should also thoroughly review of the United Nations’ Outer Space Treaty which was written and enacted during a different time and era in 1967. It’s important that Congress evaluate how a treaty that was enacted 50 years ago will impact new and innovative activity within space as well as potential settlement throughout the galaxy,” Cruz said.

Space entrepreneur, Jeff Bezos.
Credit: Blue Origin

“Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t explore ways that the commercial space sector, academia and NASA can look to build upon current partnerships and create new ones that can advance human spaceflight, research and discovery,” Cruz said.

 

 

 

 

Testimony and video

Witness panel testimony is available at:

Robert Bigelow, Founder, Bigelow Aerospace

https://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/304459f5-7206-47ec-9bc8-94e0d275c9a5/D4A979567F96C8B0ECF93B41A05B6063.mr.-robert-bigelow-testimony.pdf

Rob Meyerson, President, Blue Origin

https://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/5f15d1ab-955b-416a-b61d-a9e1d8faa253/4C841CCD50B70072AD005347A5655E91.mr.-rob-meyerson-testimony.pdf

George Whitesides, CEO, Galactic Ventures

https://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/b96cfd1a-4f90-4c3b-8d90-e2a36cd67f05/1F55835645E1EDAC6D7900A6F2790DF1.mr.-george-whitesides-testimony.pdf

Andrew Rush, CEO, Made in Space

https://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/8918ab89-81da-4a55-94bb-e031a9aafe0f/76240EBE1810CD4D0537B2A609742EF6.mr.-andrew-rush-testimony.pdf

To video view the entire Cruz Hearing: “Expanding American Free Enterprise in Space,” go to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vj50aaV1za4

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