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H.R. 5346: Commercial Space Support Vehicle Act

The text of the bill below is as of Jun 27, 2018 (Passed the House).


I

115th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5346

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

AN ACT

To amend title 51, United States Code, to provide for licenses and experimental permits for space support vehicles, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Commercial Space Support Vehicle Act.

2.

Definitions

Section 50902 of title 51, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

by redesignating paragraphs (21) through (25) as paragraphs (23) through (27), respectively; and

(2)

by inserting after paragraph (20) the following:

(21)

space support flight means a flight in the air that is—

(A)

not a launch or reentry; but

(B)

related to launch or reentry services.

(22)

space support vehicle means a vehicle that is—

(A)

a launch vehicle;

(B)

a reentry vehicle; or

(C)

a component of a launch or reentry vehicle.

.

3.

Licensing of space support flights

(a)

In general

Section 50904 of title 51, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

(e)

Space support flights

(1)

The Secretary of Transportation may issue or transfer a license for multiple space support flights of a space support vehicle to a citizen of the United States, but only if such citizen holds an operator license issued under this chapter for launch or reentry of such space support vehicle as, or included as a component of, a launch vehicle or reentry vehicle.

(2)

A licensee may only carry out a space support flight of a space support vehicle under a license for carrying a person or property for compensation or hire if such flight lands at the same site from which the vehicle took flight.

.

(b)

Limitation on wavier of requirements

Section 50905(b)(3) of title 51, United States Code, is amended by inserting , or the operation of a space support vehicle, after or a reentry vehicle.

4.

Experimental permits for space support flights

Section 50906 of title 51, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

by striking subsection (d) and inserting the following:

(d)

The Secretary may issue a permit only for—

(1)

reusable suborbital rockets or reusable launch vehicles that will be launched into a suborbital trajectory or reentered under that permit solely for—

(A)

research and development to test design concepts, equipment, or operating techniques;

(B)

showing compliance with requirements as part of the process for obtaining a license for launch or reentry under this chapter; or

(C)

crew training for a launch or reentry using the design of the rocket or vehicle for which the permit would be issued; or

(2)

a space support vehicle, or a vehicle that is in development to become a space support vehicle, operated by a citizen of the United States for space support flights that will be conducted under the permit for, or in support of, the purposes described in subparagraphs (A) through (C) of paragraph (1).

; and

(2)

by striking subsection (h) and inserting the following:

(h)

No person may, under a permit, operate a reusable suborbital rocket, reusable launch vehicle, or space support vehicle for carrying any property or human being for compensation or hire.

.

5.

Communication and transparency

Nothing in this Act or the amendments made by this Act shall be construed to limit the authority of the Secretary of Transportation to discuss potential regulatory approaches, potential performance standards, or any other topic related to this Act and the amendments made by this Act with the commercial space industry prior to the issuance of a notice of proposed rulemaking.

6.

Applicability

(a)

In general

The amendments made by this Act shall take effect on March 1, 2019.

(b)

Regulations

The Secretary of Transportation may issue such regulations as are necessary to carry out the amendments made by this Act beginning on the date of enactment of this Act.

Passed the House of Representatives June 27, 2018.

Karen L. Haas,

Clerk.