CSF Backs Full Utilization of International Space Station

International Space Station

Washington D.C. (CSF PR) – Michael Lopez-Alegria, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, testified Wednesday morning before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Science and Space at a hearing entitled “Risks, Opportunities, and Oversight of Commercial Space.” Among the topics discussed at the hearing were risk-sharing, regulation, NASA’s Commercial Crew and the International Space Station.

Lopez-Alegria stated in his opening statement “Having commanded the International Space Station, I share with this committee an understanding of its great value to America and to the world. It represents an unparalleled capability for space-based research and technology demonstration, but its full utilization potential is dependent on robust cargo and crew transportation.”

One of the other witnesses, William Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator of Human Exploration and Operations at NASA, testified to NASA’s plans for the forthcoming commercial crew seats. Gerstenmaier stated, “We would definitely increase the crew size on ISS to seven crew. We currently have six crew members . . . . The space station was designed to operate at a full complement of crew of seven. We think that will increase the research capability on board station and allow us to do more National Lab research and be more effective in utilizing the space station.”

Commercial Spaceflight Federation Executive Director, Alex Saltman stated after the hearing, “We are thrilled to hear the comments of Mr. Gerstenmaier today confirming NASA’s intent to fully utilize the International Space Station. The addition of a seventh crew member to ISS will significantly increase the science, research and education capabilities of the station. Several witnesses at the hearing, as well as Senator Nelson, extolled the research potential of the Station to create new markets and innovative capabilities in many business sectors. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation looks forward to working closely with NASA and Congress to ensure the full utilization and extended life of ISS through future commercial crew services, and supports the highest possible funding for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program so that NASA can obtain these services in a timely manner.”

View Michael Lopez-Alegria’s full written testimony to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Science and Space here.