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Space Watch

House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Space Holds Hearing

In February, the House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Space held a hearing on "Necessary Updates to the Commercial Space Launch Act."

The Commercial Space Launch Act (CSLA), first passed in 1984, and amended several times since then, gives authority to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to license commercial launches and indemnify launch providers from third-party liability claims in case of an accident. The commercial space launch industry has undergone various changes since the law was last updated, and Congress is interested in updating the law accordingly.

Congressman Steven Palazzo (pictured), chairman of the subcommittee, outlined several areas that may need to be addressed in the update: launch indemnification, length of learning period for companies developing commercial human spaceflight vehicles, streamlining the permitting process, offering more flexibility for experimental aircraft, better defining the various types of spacecraft, and strengthening the informed consent.

In addition to these issues, the FAA Commercial Space Transportation office requested Congress to expand its oversight authority from licensing and oversight of launch and reentry vehicles to also include in space transportation.

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