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House Passes Space Commercialization Act

September 27, 1996

The House of Representative has passed the Space Commercialization Act (H.R. 3936). The bill, sponsored by Rep. Robert Walker (R-PA), is designed to make it easier for private companies to participate in space operations. The major provisions of the bill include: the NASA Administrator would be directed to prepare a market study that would examine the role commercial ventures may play in the International Space Station; NASA would be required, to the maximum extent possible, to acquire earth remote sensing data, services, distribution and applications, where cost effective, from the U.S. private sector; and, the government would be required to procure launch service from U.S. commercial providers, and to the maximum extent possible, plan missions to accommodate the space transportation capabilities of U.S. commercial providers.

The future of the bill is uncertain in the Senate. There is currently no Senate version of the bill, but it may be attached to the space authorization bill that the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is currently drafting. A section-by-section analysis and other information regarding H.R. 3936 are available on the World Wide Web at http://www.house.gov/science/welcome.htm