The budget of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA AST) would more than triple over the next five years according to a re-authorization bill hammered out by House and Senate negotiators.
FAA AST’s current budget of $22.6 million would increase as follows:
The House passed a measure on Tuesday designed to create a ‘one-stop shop’ for commercial space companies.
The American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017 invests oversight authority in the Department of Commerce’s Office of Space Commerce.
A key element of the bill is the reform and simplification of the regulatory process that covers remote sensing. The measure requires the office to approve or reject an application for a space object to launch.
“The bill establishes a favorable legal and policy environment for free enterprise with maximum certainty and minimum burden for stakeholders,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who introduced the legislation and chairs the House Science Committee. “With this innovative legislation, we position the American space industry as a leader.
“New space operators would now be incentivized to set up shop on American ground and allow the United States to maintain and adhere to our international obligations as well as improving our national security,” Smith added. “This enterprising bill provides an efficient, transparent, and streamlined structure for authorizing and supervising future space activities to create the path for future exploration of the final frontier.”
The bill creates a Private Space Activity Advisory Committee to analyze the effectiveness of the the office’s operations, identify problems, and provide recommendations to the Commerce Department and Congress on policies and practices.
Space companies and industry groups praised the act in a press release issued on Tuesday.
“The member companies and institutions of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation are in strong agreement with all of the goals and most of the key elements of your legislation: significant reform of the Commerce Department’s obsolete, burdensome, and dysfunctional regime for licensing commercial remote sensing satellites is especially welcome,” said federation president Eric Stallmer.
Well, now that spring has arrived, it’s time for Congress to get around to passing the 2018 budget that was due in time for the start of the fiscal year last Oct. 1 — that is to say, nearly two seasons ago.
Yes, we went through all of winter, most of fall and a couple of days of spring before Congress got around to cobbling together a spending bill. On Wednesday, the House released a $1.3 trillion omnibus bill that is 2,232 pages long.
They say good things happen to those who wait; in this case, that patience may well pay off for NASA (not that the agency any choice in the matter).
The space agency’s budget would be boosted to $20.7 billion. The budget would be $1.1 billion above the $19.6 billion NASA received in FY 2017 and $1.6 billion above the $19.1 billion the Trump Administration proposed to spend in FY 2018.
Statement by Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO David F. Melcher on the House voting to extend the R&D Tax Credit permanently.
Arlington, Va. — AIA welcomes the House vote to permanently extend the research and development tax credit which lapsed at the end of 2014. It provides an important incentive during these times of fiscal austerity for thousands of companies to make long-term investments in innovation and is critical to creating economic growth. Particularly at a time when DOD is actively seeking new sources of innovation, it’s imperative that we do everything in our power to incentivize companies in every sector to invest in innovative ideas and solutions.
This credit supports companies that invest working capital in basic research and in applied research aimed at the creation or improvement of products. More than 70 percent of the credit is used to fund the salaries of R&D workers who hold the kinds of high-quality jobs that fuel our national economy, with the remainder applied to investment in new plant and equipment.
Currently, the U.S. significantly trails other leading countries in providing incentives for companies to conduct research and development. Making this critical tool for spurring investment and innovation permanent helps maintain the American edge in innovation and provides companies with the certainty they need for long range planning. The House is to be congratulated for voting to ensure American companies can rely on this credit going forward and we encourage the Senate to pass the bill as soon as possible.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (House Leadership PR) – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today praised Senate passage of a bicameral, bipartisan agreement on H.R. 2262, the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act. The bill consolidates language from the House-passedSpurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship Act of 2015 or SPACE Act with provisions from S.1297, the Senate’s commercial space legislation. It provides much-needed guidance and regulatory certainty for America’s private space industry partners. (more…)
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) have begun to quietly campaign to replace Rep. Ralph Hall as chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology next year, according to Stu Witt, General Manager and CEO of the Mojave Air and Space Port.
Witt and his staff hosted a visit by Smith last week to familiarize the Republican Congressman with commercial space activities being undertaken at the California spaceport. Rohrabacher will be visiting the desert facility next Wednesday, Witt added during a meeting of the East Kern Airport District board.
Witt said the visits are part of an effort by both Congressman to build up support for their bids to replace Hall, will step down after six years as head of the powerful committee. Under House rules imposed by the Republican leadership, chairmen are limited to three, two-year terms.
We now know what the House has in mind for NASA’s “reconfigured” commercial crew program. I’ll let Rep. Frank Wolf, chairman of the House’s Science subcommittee, explain in his own inimitable way:
Commercial Crew development is funded at $500 million, consistent with the current authorization and the report accompanying the House Budget Resolution. In light of limited budgets and the need to find the fastest, safest and most cost effective means of achieving a U.S. capability for access to the International Space Station, the bill directs NASA to winnow the commercial partners and advance the schedule for moving to traditional government procurement methods.
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and related agencies (CJS) has finished marking up the FY 2013 budget. Looks like much of the same, with money ladled on massively expensive programs and a $305 million reduction in the President’s request for commercial crew: [Update: The House has weighed in with its own budget, which does the same thing in a more extreme fashion — see below]
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is funded at $19.4 billion, an increase of $1.6 billion over the fiscal year 2012 enacted level. The large increase results from a reorganization of operational weather satellite procurement from NOAA into NASA. Without the funds for weather satellite procurement, this level represents a $41.5 million cut from the fiscal year 2012 enacted level.
Funding for the development of the Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle is $1.2 billion, the same as fiscal year 2012. Heavy lift Space Launch System (SLS) development is funded at $1.5 billion, $21 million less than fiscal year 2012. The bill also provides $244 million for construction needed to build, test, and operate Orion and SLS. Commercial crew development is provided $525 million, an increase of $119 million above fiscal year 2012.