Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) is poised to roll out a discussion draft of a comprehensive space bill within the next few weeks, he said Feb. 26.
The American Space Renaissance Act will be formally released during the Space Symposium this April in Colorado Springs, he said at a Commercial Spaceflight Federation event. The congressman wants industry feedback on the language of the bill, which he called a “conversation piece” that will be huge in scope.
“The overall point of the bill is to promote policies that will permanently make America the predominant spacefaring nation,” Bridenstine said. “We need to make that permanent. A big part of that is fostering, encouraging and incentivizing industry to innovate and thrive here in the United States of America.
“We need to expand launch options, produce more satellites here in the United States, have a robust space travel infrastructure and be the home of world changing plans such as point to point suborbital flight, lunar habitats, asteroid mining just to name a few. It also involves a paradigm shift where the government purchases services rather than hardware, and that includes everything from communications to imagery to weather data and even transportation and habitats,” he said.
The bill also will encourage and incentivize government entities—such as the Defense Department, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)— to expand its partnerships with the commercial space industry, which over the past decade has rapidly expanded and become more innovative.
“The commercial sector can do it better and cheaper in so many cases, and where government does take a role in evolving technologies or being the first to arrive at new destinations, they should always be mindful of how to transfer these technologies out to the commercial sector,” he said.
Bridenstine, a member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) and the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, does not expect the bill to pass as a standalone measure. Instead, he plans on breaking it up and inserting its language into other pieces of legislation such as the National Defense Authorization Act, he said.
He also previewed a number of provisions that will likely be included in the House’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act. The NDAA is slated to include several new pilot programs, one of which would allow the Defense Department to buy weather data from commercial satellite operators, helping enable mission and information assurance, he said.