Today, the Subcommittee on Aviation, chaired by U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), convened a hearing to discuss issues related to the commercial space transportation industry, focusing on stakeholders’ perspectives on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) ongoing regulatory reform efforts.
The hearing examined potential areas of enhancement to the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) regulatory process in order to facilitate the success of the commercial space transportation industry and the safety of the general public. The Subcommittee heard testimony from witnesses representing the Air Line Pilots Association, Blue Origin, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance.
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) made the following statement after the conclusion of today’s hearing:
I want to thank Chairman LoBiondo for calling today’s hearing to focus on the FAA’s ongoing regulatory reform efforts for commercial space transportation.
Although this mode has only existed since 1984, it is already reshaping our national economy and changing the way we think about transportation. With 15 licensed launches so far this year, and more than a dozen more in the pipeline for the second half of the year, this is an exciting time of growth and innovation in the sector. Because the world has changed since 1984, it is important that our commercial space regulations keep pace.
This committee has a proud history of enabling industry development and success through deregulation.
It also has a proud history of overseeing and ensuring a stable regulatory environment. We need to ensure that heavy-handed regulations don’t suffocate the commercial space transportation industry, but at the same time we need a clear regulatory structure to enable our national space industry and ensure public safety.
I commend the Administration’s efforts to accelerate regulatory reform in the area, but as I said in February, Congress has to make sure the right agencies have the right authorities to make the right regulatory decisions. Time is of the essence, but it is imperative that we get this right.
We all look forward to the Senate’s release and consideration of a commercial space transportation bill in the near future. I hope the Senate bill will recognize that the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation has been the most successful commercial space transportation regulatory agency by granting it additional regulatory authorities necessary to enable industry success.
Today’s hearing provided valuable information and insight in our continued oversight of FAA’s regulatory reform efforts and the safe integration of commercial space into the National Airspace System. I look forward to continued engagement with industry stakeholders as we work to build a 21st-century infrastructure for America.
More information from today’s hearing, including Chairman LoBiondo’s opening remarks, video of today’s proceedings, complete witness testimony, and additional background information is available here.