October 09, 2003

Commercial Space

In his usual thorough and readable style, Rand Simberg analyzes the language of HB 3245, entitled the Commercial Space Act of 2003.

If you have been following the X-Prize (and Simberg) closely, you are probably aware of the concerns about which regulatory regime would govern suborbital flights with passengers -- the fairly
mature commercial aviation regime under the FAA (complete with ruinously expensive aircraft certification) or the Commercial Space Flight administrator (formerly under the DoT, currently under the FAA, and again under DoT, if the bill passes). As Rand points out, while the bill fills gaps left open in the Commercial Space Flight Act of 1984 to specifically address the issue of carrying passengers (a/k/a "spaceflight participants") as payload, it is a bit open-ended on the compliance requirements for a vehicle operator to carry a spaceflight participant. In other words, it leaves a great deal to the discretion of the regulators.

In all, it would be an improvement over the current regime, primarily for the certainty it would bring. But I can't help wondering whether the Wright Brothers would have succeeded had they been confronted with the mass of laws and regulations we now inflict on our innovators.

Posted by JohnL at October 9, 2003 11:45 PM
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