Legislation Could Result in California Spaceport Authority

Senator Jean Fuller (Credit: Jean Fuller)
Senator Jean Fuller (Credit: Jean Fuller)

California State Sen. Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) has introduced legislation that would require the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development to establish a space enterprise development program to promote the state’s industry.

Fuller’s measure would likely lead to the establishment of a California Spaceport Authority to oversee the efforts. The bill gives the Governor’s Office the authority to contract with a non-profit group to provide technical assistance and support and to serve as the state’s spaceport authority.

There has not been a state-wide organization to promote its aerospace interests since the non-profit California Space Authority dissolved in June 2011 after it ran out of funds.

The development program would “foster activities that increase the competitiveness of space enterprise in California, including, but not limited to, the commercial use of space, space vehicle launches, space launch infrastructure, manufacturing, applied research, technology development, economic diversification, and business development,” the bill states.

SB-506 would establish the California Space Enterprise Competitive Grant Program that would provide funds to improve the competitiveness of companies and organizations conducting space activities in the state.

Fuller represents the state’s 16th Senate District, which includes the Mojave Air and Space Port.

The space provisions are part of a larger bill that also establishes a Military and Aerospace Program within the Governor’s Office to focus on “state and local defense retention, conversion, and base reuse activities, including developing and recommending to the Governor and the Legislature a strategic plan for state and local defense retention and conversion efforts.”

Fuller’s bill would establish a Military and Aerospace Account in the Special Deposit Fund in the State Treasury that would be able to accept private funds.

The Senate Appropriations Committee is set to conduct a hearing on the measure on Monday, May 11.