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Congress Approves Bill Supporting Human Space Exploration

The House of Representatives has unanimously approved a Senate amendment to H.R. 6586, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-MS) that extends a risk-sharing and liability regime to support American commercial space transportation operators against catastrophic losses suffered by the uninvolved public.

As amended by the Senate, the bill extends a waiver to allow American astronauts to continue to fly aboard Russian spacecraft to access the International Space Station (ISS) through 2020.  The bill also conveys a Sense of Congress regarding future U.S. human spaceflight capabilities, stressing the need to ensure continued development of both NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, along with the pursuit of commercial crew services to the ISS.

“NASA now relies on commercial providers to carry cargo to and from the International Space Station,” said Committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-TX). “The future of the U.S. space program and commercial spaceflight industry relies on a predictable environment.  Provisions in this bill provide a solid framework for the U.S. space enterprise to succeed in the future and continue to be the world’s leader in space.”

Subcommittee Chairman Palazzo added,“I applaud my colleagues in the Senate and the House for recognizing the importance of this bill and moving to pass it before the end of the 112th Congress.  For decades, the U.S. has led the world in space flight and exploration.  This crucial measure provides much-needed guidance for NASA going forward, and ensures our commercial space industry continues to operate competitively in the global market.”

The bill was approved today by unanimous consent.  Cosponsors include: Chairman Ralph Hall (R-TX)Vice Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Committee Members Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), andAdam Schiff (D-CA).

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April 16, 2014

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