WASHINGTON, DC – This week the President of the United States signed into law legislation sponsored by Congressman McCarthy to promote commercial spaceflight. Congressman McCarthy released the following statement:
“Our commercial space industry is flying a little higher today. With the President’s signature of this legislation, our spaceports will be able to prioritize safety and minimize the risk of structures interfering with the flight path of spacecraft on launch or reentry. Ingenuity has helped push the commercial space flight innovators to new heights and this legislation, along with the comprehensive SPACE Act that was signed into law last year, ensures our government policies keep up with the progress. I am proud of our community’s leadership in commercial space and will continue to fight in Congress so our community and nation remain at the forefront of this burgeoning industry.”
Most spaceports are located at existing airports, such as Mojave Air and Space Port, which is classified as a “ General Aviation” airport.
Because of this, the FAA is limited to the metrics prescribed for studying potential structural obstructions to general aviation airports and aircraft, and is unable to take into account the unique trajectories of suborbital vehicles.
What this legislation does:
H.R. 6007 would give the Secretary of Transportation the authority to conduct aeronautical studies at spaceports, allowing the FAA to study the potential impact of structures on spacecraft arriving or departing from a licensed launch site.
Additionally, the bill requires rulemaking to implement this requirement within 18 months of enactment.
“Mojave Air and Space Port is pleased to see another positive step forward in protecting the operational investment by so many, government and private sector alike.” -Karina Drees, CEO Mojave Air and Space Port
“Once again, Majority Leader McCarthy has shown that he is committed to helping keep Mojave at the forefront of commercial spaceflight. This bill will help ensure that spaceports like ours are able to operate without fear of encroachment.” – George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company
“The Commercial Spaceflight Federation endorses H.R. 6007. Your legislation provides regulatory clarification important to the future of the commercial space industry in the United States. We encourage the House and Senate to act quickly on this bipartisan, bicameral bill. Gliding spacecraft and large transport category aircraft require protection from obstacles (e.g., power lines, wind turbines, or cell towers) in close proximity to runways. While current law is well-defined for airports, it does not effectively encompass spaceports. This legislation provides a standard, effective obstruction evaluation framework for spaceports. With only a short time left in the 114th Congress, we support quick action in the House to approve your legislation and provide sufficient time for Senate consideration and presidential approval. Thank you for your leadership on this important issue.” – Eric W. Stallmer, President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation