CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- Just two days before the historic scheduled launch of the commercial SpaceX Dragon on May 19 to the International Space Station, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill introduced by Congressman Bill Posey (R-Rockledge), who's district includes Florida's Space Coast, as an Amendment to H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act, that enables the Department of Defense (DoD) to work with Space Florida and commercial companies to improve space launch infrastructure to better meet national security and commercial space launch needs.
“This Amendment will give commercial space companies an incentive to spend their money here and do business here in Florida and around the U.S. instead of places like Russia and China, which have been siphoning off our commercial space business,” said Posey. “Last year, according to the Space Foundation, the U.S. conducted zero commercial space launches while Russia completed ten commercial launches and China had two. Rolling back the red tape and enabling Defense Department, Space Florida, and the commercial sector to collaborate and work together is just a common sense way to make America more competitive.”
“This new relationship will assure a more robust partnership between the State and the Pentagon, said Frank DiBello, President of Space Florida. “Through this legislation the taxpayer and the war-fighter will benefit as the commercial and military activity in Brevard move into a stronger and more diversified future.”
Under current law, the Department of Defense is restricted from accepting funds from commercial entities for non-defense related purposes that are not related to a specific Defense Department mission. Posey’s Amendment would allow the Defense Department to accept funding from non-federal entities (i.e., State agencies and private companies) to invest together in space-related infrastructure, such as launch sites and launch support facilities.
Posey said the amendment would enable the DoD to have a more robust and reliable space launch infrastructure and will have the added benefit of enabling commercial space providers to compete globally in the commercial market.
The full text of the amendment can be found here.
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