PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, COLO. (USAF PR) — At the 32nd Space Symposium I was asked whether I supported the US government making decommissioned ICBM motors available to the commercial space industry. I want to clearly state that I believe this decision is a matter of national policy and law which rests with Congress. We look forward to working with Congress as this matter is considered.
I stated that I believe it’s appropriate to consider leveraging the considerable investment that the American taxpayer has made in developing, manufacturing and maintaining these motors. However, in doing so, we must not put the small launch market at risk. We should study the issue carefully to determine if the engines could be sold to commercial industry at a reasonable price, and in reasonable numbers that do not provide an unfair competitive advantage. Doing so would recoup some of the investment that the taxpayers have made, rather than waiting until the motors become unusable and have to be destroyed.
I absolutely understand and value the health of our launch industrial base, and I’m encouraged by the innovation and investment I see from the industry. We want to encourage this vibrant market, and will do the analysis to make sure that any policy proposal to make the ICBM engines available takes the long term health of the small launch segment into account.