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Suborbital legislation: Take action now!

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wvbraun

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From RLV-News:<br /><br /><br /><i>Item: The fall Congressional session is scheduled for Sept. 7th to Oct. 1st only.<br /><br /><b>Item: Even the most optimistic sources estimate that the chances of reintroducing and passing 'infant industry' legislation for private human spaceflight next year are, for various procedural, non-partisan reasons, essentially zero.</b><br /><br />Item: Yesterday, from an observer close to relevant events:<br /><br /> "Tangible issues regarding the legislation essential to opening private human spaceflight markets (a version of HR 3752 and/or it's recent Senate companion, S.2772) have become virtually trivial,--<br /><br /> "And the only thing preventing the passage this fall of such a Bill is that it will likely just not be given high enough priority in time for action."<br /><br />There will no doubt be (deserved) extensive coverage of Mr. Rutan et al taking a shot at the X-Prize, presently scheduled for September 29th and October 4th. If the legislation has not been passed by then, however, even the most wildly successful Prize flights will likely be a tragedy masquerading as a triumph.<br /><br />Finally, the Hill is enmeshed in the latest act of the decades-long drama, "How do we wrench an affordable human exploration program out of the NASA behemoth?"<br /><br />Shouldn't Congress give a moment's attention to passing the private human spaceflight enabling Bill? It includes virtually no controversy, may profoundly improve the cost and safety of all human spaceflight, and doesn't cost the taxpayers a dime.<br /><br />Target Senate Commerce Committee<br /><br />[You should] contact the full Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to urge them to take action that will allow Congress to complete passage this fall of legislation allowing commercialization of private human spaceflight (on the heels of the Xprize). If they are asked about or wish to reference a bill number, peop</i>
 
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arobie

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<font color="yellow">"Everyone who reads this and is a supporter of private/commercial spaceflight should take action now. I'm not a US citizen myself but I'll write a letter anyway. Spacester, The Colonel, halman, lunatic and all the others: Do something now!"</font><br /><br />I ABSOLUTELY AGREE!!! We need to do something. I know I will. I will definitely be contacting my senator from Louisiana about this.
 
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halman

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wvbraun,<br /><br />Thank you for the 'heads-up'. I had not even heard of this legislation, (no surprise there,) nor did I realize that the Reusable Launch Vehicle site existed. There have been several sites, newsletters, and similiar media projects started regarding space recently, and I have not done very well at keeping up with them.<br /><br />This issue regarding legislation promoting an infant industry makes me think of the early days of aviation, when there was no regulation, oversight, or guidance for those who were trying to figure out a way to make money off of flying.<br /><br />Of course, any group is free to set up shop in some non-aligned third world country that could care less about regulating something which no one can see. The way that things have gotten in the U. S., it might be that no action on this subject will be taken until some outfit is flying passengers on a regular basis out of Africa, Asia, or some other backwater. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> The secret to peace of mind is a short attention span. </div>
 
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lunatic133

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Hey wow I am addressed specifically. Yes, I will definitely take action! I had no idea such a legislation existed. I am curious what are the current laws regarding private spaceflight and what does it mean for Rutan and the others if this legislation is not passed, and can it be passed later?
 
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arobie

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I second those questions. Does anyone know the answers? I am also curious.
 
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radarredux

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"<i>We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.</i>"<br /> -- Wernher von Braun<br /><br />From the MSNBC article on Armadillo:<br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p><br />Needless to say, building human-carrying rocket hardware is a tough challenge. But paperwork alone can leave you stranded on Earth.<br />...<br />Armadillo’s launch license is currently stalled on the environmental assessment, Carmack reported.<br /><br />"If I was willing to throw a million dollars at the problem by hiring the right firms to write the environmental impact statement and finish the launch license, things could get done faster, but I'm not willing to toss that kind of money at parasitic paperwork," he said.<br />...<br />http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4780631/<br /><p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />From Window on State Government:<br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p><br />According to Milburn, the technical problems involved in an X Prize attempt are nothing like those imposed by regulation.<br /><br />"The biggest hurdle to private space flight is not the technology or the cost, it's bureaucratic red tape," he said. "The FAA is hogtied by the laws they are mandated to enforce. Armadillo, to launch its small vehicle in a remote desert void of people and infrastructure, has to jump through the same hoops as Lockheed and Boeing do to launch an Atlas or Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral on the Space Coast. The old joke is: once the paperwork weighs as much as the rocket, it can fly. It's not too far from the truth."<br /><br />http://www.window.state.tx.us/comptrol/fnotes/fn0310/aiming.html<br /><p><hr /></p></p></blockquote>
 
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wvbraun

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This matter is very complicated. Suffice to say that the current regulatory regime for private spaceflight is, by all accounts, a mess and people like Dennis Tito have said that they won't invest in this business until legislation is passed which clears things up. This bill is intended to do just that and will help a lot in getting suborbital spaceflight/spacetourism off the ground.<br /><br />Rutan can do testflights for now but it will be prohibitively expensive to certify SS1 (or any other suborbital RLV for that matter) as a commercial passenger-carrying vehicle if changes to the current regulatory regime aren't made, not to mention that there are no clear rules what happens in case of an accident and so on.<br /><br />This bill has been in the making for more than a year now and it is very unlikely that it will be passed next year if it doesn't get through now. But a clear regulatory framework is needed now, not in two or three years. Burt Rutan is close to winning the X-Prize. This will create huge momentum which must not be allowed to go to waste. Investors might be ready to pour some real money into small companies like XCor or Armadillo Aerospace but only if there is a realistic prospect that the vehicles developed by these start-ups are allowed take paying passengers on suborbital flights one day.
 
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wvbraun

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This is a first draft of the letter I intend to write:<br /><br /><br /><br /><i>Honored members of the Committee<br /><br />I am writing you to alert you to the status of the Space CHASE Act (S. 2772), a bill that is intended to set out a clear regulatory framework for the emerging commercial spaceflight industry. <br />Within the next six weeks famed aviation pioneer Burt Rutan will almost certainly make two or more suborbital spaceflights that will win him the $10 million Ansari-X-Prize. The X-Prize is an international contest, begun in 1996, that is aimed at jumpstarting the space-tourism industry. What better way to honor his achievement than passing legislation for this nascent high-tech-industry that will transform the way the US conducts manned spaceflight, that will make spaceflight safer, (much) more affordable and reliable.<br />I’m not a US citizen, in fact I’m writing you from Germany. Apart from helping you to pardon my less than perfect English skills this should demonstrate to you the widespread interest this bill enjoys in the international space-community. The US is the country where by far the most of the X-Prize-teams and other small aerospace companies are located. It would be a pity if these enterpreneurs were to be tied to the ground by the inability of the US-government to provide for a clear regulatory framework.<br />All that is holding back passage of the Space CHASE Act is the fact that it is not considerered important enough to be dealt with during this years’s fall congressional session. The technical issues have all been sorted out. I urge you to push for a vote on this very important piece of legislation that will be remembered as one the key milestones in making spaceflight affordable for everyone.</i><br /><br /><br />Feel free to point out any errors or wording that just doesn't sound right.<br />
 
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arobie

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Awesome! Great letter. I thank you very much for taking the time to write to our senators to persuade them on this very important matter. Showing them that this is even known about known about, and cared about, in other countries will show just how important it really is.<br /><br />(The link in your post above the letter is not working. Will you fix that? Thanks.)
 
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wvbraun

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I thought I had fixed it already but you're right. The link seems to 'expire' after some time, I don't know why. Anyway, here is how you can still read the bill: Go to this site type in S. 2772 in the appropriate field (bill number) and click search.
 
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arobie

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Will you post the link to the site one more time.This time though, instead of using the "(url=...)title(/url)" format, will you use the "(url)link(/url)" format? This way when the link expires, we can still copy and paste the url into our adress bar. This would be appreciated. Thank You.
 
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nacnud

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You can always right click the link and get the url from the properties.
 
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wvbraun

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Ok, I mailed my letter yesterday. Who else has called or written a letter? Remember, the congressional session is over october 1.
 
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wvbraun

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<b>Update from RLV-News:</b><br /><br /><br /><i>As recently noted here, legislation deemed by many to be crucial to the development of a successful commercial suborbital spaceflight industry is at a critical stage in the Senate. Though there is probably no real opposition to the bill, the session will be very short and it will be difficult to find time for it in a very crowded agenda. Public support will be a great help in raising its chances for passage.<br /><br />I've been informed by Charles Lurio that the Senate version of any bill dealing with commercialization of private human spaceflight would not be the previously mentioned S2772 (the 'CHASE' bill introduced by Senator Inhofe) but instead it will be under the House Bill designation, HR3752 ("The Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004").<br /><br />This is just an accounting measure, but if you contact Congressional staff to give your support for the legislation, you should refer to HR3752 to avoid any confusion.<br /><br />Note that any improvements that were incorporated into S2772 will likely be applied in HR3752 (a process known as creating a "perfected" version of the legislation.)</i>
 
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arobie

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Thank you for the extra information. <br /><br />I posted the articles on the XPrize forums to try to get the people over there to do something about this.
 
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wvbraun

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Thank you! Every call, every letter counts: Make your voices heard!
 
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