COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A sweeping space policy bill introduced April 12 seeks to update a wide range of civil, commercial and national security space issues to keep the United States competitive.
Rep. James Bridenstine (R-Okla.) formally introduced the American Space Renaissance Act in a speech at the 32nd Space Symposium here, arguing that the bill’s updates to national space policy are critical in a changing environment that threatens the country’s economic and military security.
“Friends, this is our Sputnik moment,” he said in his speech. “America must forever be the preeminent spacefaring nation. That’s why I believe it’s time for the American Space Renaissance Act.”
The bill includes separate sections covering military, civil and commercial policy topics, from changes to responsibilities for space situational awareness to giving the NASA administrator a fixed five-year term. “This is a comprehensive bill, because ensuring that America is the preeminent spacefaring nation requires a holistic approach to entire American space enterprise.”
Bridenstine acknowledged that he does not expect the bill to pass in its current form. “This bill will serve as a repository for the best space reform ideas,” he said. “Many of its policies can be inserted into other bills that will pass.”
Bridenstine discussed this “holistic” approach to the bill in an in-depth interview with SpaceNews ahead of the Space Symposium:
“It seems like within the national space enterprise, there is a Department of Defense space enterprise, a commercial space enterprise, a civil space enterprise. There doesn’t seem to be one national space enterprise. What we’re trying to do is to bring a lot of elements together and make sure that in the end, the technologies being advanced are relevant to all the different enterprises that exist. That’s the goal of this.”
Bridenstine has become one of the House’s most engaged members on military satellite communications issues and the bill includes a full section on that topic, including eight provisions that he hopes will appear in the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017.
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