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Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 3547, the Space Launch Liability Indemnification Extension Act.
The United States space program has existed for over half a century and my commitment to providing NASA with the resources to carry the agency forward with its ambitious agenda of research, exploration, and discovery is unwavering.
In June 2012, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NASA signed an agreement to coordinate standards for commercial space travel of government and non-government astronauts to and from low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station (ISS).
The FAA regulates and licenses all U.S. private companies and individuals seeking to engage in commercial space transportation. The FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation has licensed 207 successful launches, including two non-orbital commercial human space flights in 2004 and the recent first launch to the ISS and re-entry of a non-manned commercial spacecraft. For details on FAA commercial space transportation responsibilities, visit:
The two agencies agreed to join efforts to expand commercial and non-commercial space exploration by creating a framework for the U.S. space industry. The two agencies will be able to avoid conflict regarding requirements and standards for the purpose of advancing both public and crew safety.
This is an important collaboration that for the private sector is a good sign for companies seeking to reap commercial benefits that may be found in spaceflight investments.
NASA continues to push the boundaries of what is possible, keeping our Nation on the forefront of innovation and exploration. It is the responsibility of this Congress to ensure that the future of NASA is one of continued progress.
Space exploration remains a part of our national destiny. It inspires our children to look to the stars and dream of what they too, one day, may achieve. Space exploration allows us to push the bounds of our scientific knowledge, as we carry out research projects not possible within the constraints of the planet Earth.
Because of the ground breaking work of NASA commercial applications for space, such as commercial satellites have become critical for mobile communication services.
Smartphones rely upon commercial satellite to function, which makes possible the communication revolution we are witnessing today.
Today, the ground work done to advance knowledge regarding space exploration has reached a point where private sector companies are exploring ways to commercialize space exploration.
For example, Companies like Virgin now operates Virgin Galactic has completed its second test flight for commercialization of space travel and is selling passenger tickets for its first flight. However, we must still fully fund NASA and U.S. public space exploration.
A critical milestone for space exploration will be successful commercial efforts to provide services or develop new methods of manufacturing that are space based or the exploration of neighboring bodies for discovery of rare earth minerals or discovery of more abundant sources of elements or resources that can aid human development.
H.R. 3547, the Space Launch Liability Indemnification Extension Act provides a means of making it possible for private companies to pursue commercial space projects.
I ask my colleagues to support this effort to make the next step in human development of space a successful one by joining me in voting in support of H.R. 3547, the Space Launch Liability Indemnification Extension Act.
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