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114th Congress      }                              {     Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session        }                              {     114-119
====================================================================
 
        SPURRING PRIVATE AEROSPACE COMPETITIVENESS AND
                 ENTREPRENEURSHIP ACT OF 2015

                                _______
                              

  May 18, 2015.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

     Mr. Smith of Texas, from the Committee on Science, Space, and 
                  Technology, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                             MINORITY VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 2262]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 2262) to facilitate a pro-growth 
environment for the developing commercial space industry by 
encouraging private sector investment and creating more stable 
and predictable regulatory conditions, and for other purposes, 
having considered the same, report favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Committee Statement and Views....................................     8
Section-by-Section...............................................    22
Explanation of Amendments........................................    30
Committee Consideration..........................................    31
Roll Call Votes..................................................    31
Correspondence...................................................    44
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................    46
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................    46
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............    46
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................    46
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................    46
Federal Advisory Committee Act...................................    46
Unfunded Mandate Statement.......................................    46
Earmark Identification...........................................    47
Committee Estimate...............................................    47
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate...    47
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported.............    48
Minority Views...................................................    67

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Spurring Private Aerospace 
Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship Act of 2015'' or the ``SPACE Act 
of 2015''.

SEC. 2. CONSENSUS STANDARDS.

  Section 50905(c) of title 51, United States Code, is amended--
          (1) by striking paragraph (3);
          (2) by redesignating paragraph (4) as paragraph (8); and
          (3) by inserting after paragraph (2) the following:
          ``(3) Interim industry voluntary consensus standards 
        report.--The Secretary, in consultation with the Commercial 
        Space Transportation Advisory Committee, or its successor 
        organization, shall provide a report to the Committee on 
        Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives 
        and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of 
        the Senate on the progress of the commercial space 
        transportation industry in developing voluntary consensus 
        standards or any other construction that promotes best 
        practices to improve the industry. Such report shall include, 
        at a minimum--
                  ``(A) any voluntary industry consensus standards or 
                any other construction that have been accepted by the 
                industry at large;
                  ``(B) the identification of areas that have the 
                potential to become voluntary industry consensus 
                standards or another potential construction that are 
                currently under consideration by the industry at large;
                  ``(C) an assessment from the Secretary on the general 
                progress of the industry in adopting voluntary 
                consensus standards or any other construction;
                  ``(D) lessons learned about voluntary industry 
                consensus standards or any other construction, best 
                practices, and commercial space launch operations;
                  ``(E) any lessons learned associated with the 
                development, potential application, and acceptance of 
                voluntary industry consensus standards or any other 
                construction, best practices, and commercial space 
                launch operations; and
                  ``(F) recommendations, findings, or observations from 
                the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee, 
                or its successor organization, on the progress of the 
                industry in developing industry consensus standards or 
                any other construction.
        This report, with the appropriate updates in the intervening 
        periods, shall be transmitted to such committees no later than 
        December 31, 2016, December 31, 2018, December 31, 2020, and 
        December 31, 2022. Each report shall describe and assess the 
        progress achieved as of 6 months prior to the specified 
        transmittal date.
          ``(4) Interim report on knowledge and operational 
        experience.--The Secretary shall provide a report to the 
        Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of 
        Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
        Transportation of the of the Senate on the status of the 
        knowledge and operational experience acquired by the industry 
        while providing flight services for compensation or hire to 
        support the development of a safety framework. Interim reports 
        shall by transmitted to such committees no later than December 
        31, 2018, December 31, 2020, and December 31, 2022. Each report 
        shall describe and assess the progress achieved as of 6 months 
        prior to the specified transmittal date.
          ``(5) Independent review.--No later than December 31, 2023, 
        an independent, private systems engineering and technical 
        assistance organization or standards development organization 
        contracted by the Secretary shall provide to the Committee on 
        Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives 
        and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of 
        the Senate an assessment of the readiness of the commercial 
        space industry and the Federal Government to transition to a 
        safety framework that may include regulations. As part of the 
        review, the contracted organization shall evaluate--
                  ``(A) the progress of the commercial space industry 
                in adopting industry voluntary standards or any other 
                construction as reported by the Secretary in the 
                interim assessments included in reports provided under 
                paragraph (4); and
                  ``(B) the knowledge and operational experience 
                obtained by the commercial space industry while 
                providing services for compensation or hire as reported 
                by the Secretary in the interim knowledge and 
                operational reports provided under paragraph (4).
          ``(6) Learning period.--Beginning on December 31, 2025, the 
        Secretary may propose regulations under this subsection without 
        regard to paragraph (2)(C) and (D). The development of any such 
        regulations shall take into consideration the evolving 
        standards of the commercial space flight industry as identified 
        through the reports published under paragraphs (3) and (4).
          ``(7) Communication and transparency.--Nothing in this 
        subsection shall be construed to limit the authority of the 
        Secretary of Transportation to discuss potential approaches, 
        potential performance standards, or any other topic related to 
        this subsection with the commercial space industry including 
        observations, findings, and recommendations from the Commercial 
        Space Transportation Advisory Committee, or its successor 
        organization, prior to the issuance of a notice of proposed 
        rulemaking. Such discussions shall not be construed to permit 
        the Secretary to promulgate industry regulations except as 
        otherwise provided in this section.''.

SEC. 3. INTERNATIONAL LAUNCH COMPETITIVENESS.

  (a) Purpose.--The purpose of this section is to provide for updating 
the methodology used to calculate the maximum probable loss from claims 
under section 50914 of title 51, United States Code, with a validated 
risk profile approach to provide reasonable maximum probable loss 
values associated with potential third party losses from commercially 
licensed launches. An appropriately updated methodology will help 
ensure that the Federal Government is not exposed to greater financial 
risks than intended and that launch companies are not required to 
purchase more insurance coverage than necessary.
  (b) Maximum Probable Loss Plan.--Not later than 180 days after the 
date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall 
provide to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House 
of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation of the Senate a plan to update the methodology used to 
calculate maximum probable loss from claims under section 50914 of 
title 51, United States Code, through the use of a validated risk 
profile approach. Such plan shall include, at a minimum--
          (1) an evaluation of the reasonableness of the current single 
        casualty estimate and, if needed, the steps the Secretary will 
        take to update such estimate;
          (2) an evaluation, in consultation with the Administrator of 
        the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the heads 
        of other relevant executive agencies, of the reasonableness of 
        the dollar value of the insurance requirement required by the 
        Secretary for launch providers to cover damage to Government 
        property resulting from a commercially licensed space launch 
        activity, and recommendations as to a reasonable calculation 
        if, as determined by the Secretary, the current statutory 
        threshold is insufficient;
          (3) a schedule of when updates to the methodology and 
        calculations for the totality of the Maximum Probable Loss will 
        be implemented, and a detailed explanation of any changes to 
        the current calculation; and
          (4) consideration of the impact of the cost of its 
        implementation on the licensing process, both in terms of the 
        cost to industry of collecting and providing the requisite data 
        and cost to the Government of analyzing the data.
  (c) Independent Assessment.--Not later than 270 days after 
transmittal of the plan under subsection (b), the Comptroller General 
shall provide to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the 
House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation of the Senate an assessment of--
          (1) the conclusions and analysis provided by the Secretary of 
        Transportation in the plan required under subsection (b);
          (2) the implementation schedule proposed by the Secretary in 
        such plan;
          (3) the suitability of the plan for implementation; and
          (4) any further actions needed to implement the plan or 
        otherwise accomplish the purpose of this section.
  (d) Launch Liability Extension.--Section 50915(f) of title 51, United 
States Code, is amended by striking ``December 31, 2016'' and inserting 
``December 31, 2025''.

SEC. 4. LAUNCH LICENSE FLEXIBILITY.

  Section 50906 of title 51, United States Code, is amended--
          (1) in subsection (d), by striking ``launched or reentered'' 
        and inserting ``launched or reentered under that permit'';
          (2) by amending subsection (d)(1) to read as follows:
          ``(1) research and development to test design concepts, 
        equipment, or operating techniques;'';
          (3) in subsection (d)(3), by striking ``prior to obtaining a 
        license'';
          (4) in subsection (e)(1), by striking ``suborbital rocket 
        design'' and inserting ``suborbital rocket or rocket design''; 
        and
          (5) by amending subsection (g) to read as follows:
  ``(g) The Secretary may issue a permit under this section 
notwithstanding any license issued under this chapter. The issuance of 
a license under this chapter shall not invalidate a permit under this 
section.''.

SEC. 5. GOVERNMENT ASTRONAUTS.

  (a) Definitions.--Section 50902 of title 51, United States Code, is 
amended--
          (1) by redesignating paragraphs (4) through (22) as 
        paragraphs (5) through (23), respectively;
          (2) by inserting after paragraph (3) the following new 
        paragraph:
          ``(4) `government astronaut' means an individual designated 
        as such by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and 
        Space Administration, pursuant requirements established by the 
        Administrator, who--
                  ``(A) is an employee of--
                          ``(i) the United States Government, including 
                        the United States Armed Forces; or
                          ``(ii) a foreign government that is a party 
                        to the Intergovernmental Agreement Among the 
                        Government of Canada, Governments of Member 
                        States of the European Space Agency, the 
                        Government of Japan, the Government of the 
                        Russian Federation, and the Government of the 
                        United States of America Concerning Cooperation 
                        on the Civil International Space Station, 
                        signed on January 29, 1998; and
                  ``(B) is carried within a launch vehicle or reentry 
                vehicle in the course of his or her employment, which 
                may include performance of activities directly relating 
                to the launch, reentry, or other operation of the 
                launch vehicle or reentry vehicle.'';
          (3) in paragraph (5), as so redesignated by paragraph (1) of 
        this subsection, by inserting ``government astronaut,'' after 
        ``crew,'';
          (4) in paragraph (7)(A), as so redesignated by paragraph (1) 
        of this subsection, by inserting ``government astronaut,'' 
        after ``(including crew training),'';
          (5) in paragraph (14), as so redesignated by paragraph (1) of 
        this subsection, by inserting ``government astronauts,'' after 
        ``crew,'';
          (6) in paragraph (15)(A), as so redesignated by paragraph (1) 
        of this subsection, by inserting ``government astronaut,'' 
        after ``(including crew training),'';
          (7) by amending paragraph (18), as so redesignated by 
        paragraph (1) of this subsection, to read as follows:
          ``(18) `space flight participant' means an individual, who is 
        not crew or a government astronaut, carried within a launch 
        vehicle or reentry vehicle.''; and
          (8) in paragraph (22)(E), as so redesignated by paragraph (1) 
        of this subsection, by inserting ``, government astronauts,'' 
        after ``crew''.
  (b) Restrictions on Launches, Operations, and Reentries; Single 
License or Permit.--Section 50904(d) of title 51, United States Code, 
is amended by inserting ``, government astronauts,'' after ``crew''.
  (c) License Applications and Requirements; Applications.--Section 
50905 of title 51, United States Code, is amended--
          (1) in subsection (a)(2), by striking ``crews and space 
        flight participants'' and inserting ``crew, government 
        astronauts, and space flight participants'';
          (2) in subsection (b)(2)(D), by inserting ``, government 
        astronauts,'' after ``crew''; and
          (3) in subsection (c)--
                  (A) in paragraph (1), by inserting ``, government 
                astronauts,'' after ``crew''; and
                  (B) in paragraph (2), by striking ``to crew or space 
                flight participants'' each place it appears and 
                inserting ``to crew, government astronauts, or space 
                flight participants''.
  (d) Monitoring Activities.--Section 50907(a) of title 51, United 
States Code, is amended by striking ``crew or space flight participant 
training'' and inserting ``crew, government astronaut, or space flight 
participant training''.
  (e) Additional Suspensions.--Section 50908(d)(1) of title 51, United 
States Code, is amended by striking ``to crew or space flight 
participants'' each place it appears and inserting ``to crew, 
government astronauts, or space flight participants''.

SEC. 6. INDEMNIFICATION FOR SPACE FLIGHT PARTICIPANTS.

  Chapter 509 of title 51, United States Code, is amended--
          (1) in section 50914(a)(4), by adding at the end the 
        following:
                  ``(E) space flight participants.''; and
          (2) in section 50915(a)(1)--
                  (A) by striking ``or a contractor'' and inserting ``a 
                contractor''; and
                  (B) by striking ``but not against'' and inserting 
                ``or''.

SEC. 7. FEDERAL JURISDICTION.

  Section 50914 of title 51, United States Code, is amended by adding 
at the end the following:
  ``(g) Federal Jurisdiction.--Any action or tort arising from a 
licensed launch or reentry shall be the sole jurisdiction of the 
Federal courts and shall be decided under Federal law.''.

SEC. 8. CROSS-WAIVERS.

  Section 50914(b)(1) of title 51, United States Code, is amended to 
read as follows: ``(1) A launch or reentry license issued or 
transferred under this chapter shall contain a provision requiring the 
licensee or transferee to make a reciprocal waiver of claims with its 
contractors, subcontractors, and customers, the contractors and 
subcontractors of the customers, and any space flight participants, 
involved in launch services or reentry services or participating in a 
flight under which each party to the waiver agrees to be responsible 
for property damage or loss it or they sustain, or for personal injury 
to, death of, or property damage or loss sustained by its own employees 
resulting from an activity carried out under the applicable license.''.

SEC. 9. ORBITAL TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT.

  (a) Sense of Congress.--It is the sense of the Congress that, as none 
currently exists, there may be a need for a framework that addresses 
space traffic management of United States Government assets and United 
States private sector assets to minimize the proliferation of debris 
and decrease the congestion of the orbital environment.
  (b) Study Required.--Not later than 90 days after the date of 
enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics 
and Space Administration shall enter into an arrangement with an 
independent, private systems engineering and technical assistance 
organization to study frameworks for the management of space traffic 
and orbital activities. The study shall include the following:
          (1) An assessment of current regulations, Government best 
        practices, and industry standards that apply to space traffic 
        management and orbital debris mitigation.
          (2) An assessment of current statutory authority granted to 
        the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Aviation 
        Administration, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
        Administration and how those agencies utilize and coordinate 
        those authorities.
          (3) A review of all space traffic management and orbital 
        debris requirements under treaties and other international 
        agreements to which the United States is a signatory, and other 
        nonbinding international arrangements in which the United 
        States participates, and the manner in which the Federal 
        Government complies with those requirements.
          (4) An assessment of existing Federal Government assets used 
        to conduct space traffic management and space situational 
        awareness.
          (5) An assessment of the risk associated with smallsats as 
        well as any necessary Government coordination for their launch 
        and utilization.
          (6) An assessment of existing private sector information 
        sharing activities associated with space situational awareness 
        and space traffic management.
          (7) Recommendations related to the framework for the 
        protection of the health, safety, and welfare of the public and 
        economic vitality of the space industry.
  (c) Report to Congress.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall provide to the Committee 
on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives and 
the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate 
the report required in subsection (b).
  (d) Department of Defense Authorities.--Congress recognizes the vital 
and unique role played by the Department of Defense in protecting 
national security assets in space. Nothing in this section shall be 
construed to amend authorities granted to the Department of Defense to 
safeguard the national security.

SEC. 10. STATE COMMERCIAL LAUNCH FACILITIES.

  It is the Sense of Congress that State involvement, development, 
ownership, and operation of launch facilities can help enable growth of 
the Nation's commercial suborbital and orbital space endeavors and 
support both commercial and Government space programs. It is further 
the sense of Congress that State launch facilities and the people and 
property within the affected launch areas of those State facilities are 
subject to risks if the commercial launch vehicle fails or experiences 
an anomaly. To ensure the success of the commercial launch industry and 
the safety of the people and property in the affected launch areas, it 
is the further sense of Congress that States and State launch 
facilities should seek to take proper measures to secure their 
investments and the safety of third parties from potential damages that 
could be suffered from commercial launch activities.

SEC. 11. SPACE SUPPORT VEHICLES STUDY.

  Not less than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the 
Comptroller General shall submit to the Committee on Science, Space, 
and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on 
Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate, a report on the 
use of space support vehicle services in the commercial space industry. 
This report shall include--
          (1) the extent to which launch providers rely on such 
        services as part of their business models;
          (2) the statutory, regulatory, and market barriers to the use 
        of such services; and
          (3) recommendations for legislative or regulatory action that 
        may be needed to ensure reduced barriers to the use of such 
        services if such use is a requirement of the industry.

SEC. 12. STREAMLINE COMMERCIAL SPACE LAUNCH ACTIVITIES.

  (a) Sense of Congress.--It is the sense of Congress that eliminating 
duplicative requirements and approvals for commercial launch and 
reentry operations will promote and encourage the development of the 
commercial space sector.
  (b) Reaffirmation of Policy.--Congress reaffirms that the Secretary 
of Transportation, in overseeing and coordinating commercial launch and 
reentry operations, should--
          (1) promote commercial space launches and reentries by the 
        private sector;
          (2) facilitate Government, State, and private sector 
        involvement in enhancing U.S. launch sites and facilities;
          (3) protect public health and safety, safety of property, 
        national security interests, and foreign policy interests of 
        the United States; and
          (4) consult with the head of another executive agency, 
        including the Secretary of Defense or the Administrator of the 
        National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as necessary to 
        provide consistent application of licensing requirements under 
        chapter 509 of title 51, United States Code.
  (c) Requirements.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary of Transportation under 
        section 50918 of title 51, United States Code, and subject to 
        section 50905(b)(2)(C) of that title, shall consult with the 
        Secretary of Defense, the Administrator of the National 
        Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the heads of other 
        executive agencies, as appropriate--
                  (A) to identify all requirements that are imposed to 
                protect the public health and safety, safety of 
                property, national security interests, and foreign 
                policy interests of the United States relevant to any 
                commercial launch of a launch vehicle or commercial 
                reentry of a reentry vehicle; and
                  (B) to evaluate the requirements identified in 
                subparagraph (A) and, in coordination with the licensee 
                or transferee and the heads of the relevant executive 
                agencies--
                          (i) determine whether the satisfaction of a 
                        requirement of one agency could result in the 
                        satisfaction of a requirement of another 
                        agency; and
                          (ii) resolve any inconsistencies and remove 
                        any outmoded or duplicative requirements or 
                        approvals of the Federal Government relevant to 
                        any commercial launch of a launch vehicle or 
                        commercial reentry of a reentry vehicle.
          (2) Reports.--Not later than 180 days after the date of 
        enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter until the 
        Secretary of Transportation determines no outmoded or 
        duplicative requirements or approvals of the Federal Government 
        exist, the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with 
        the Secretary of Defense, the Administrator of the National 
        Aeronautics and Space Administration, the commercial space 
        sector, and the heads of other executive agencies, as 
        appropriate, shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, 
        Science, and Transportation of the Senate, the Committee on 
        Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives, 
        and the congressional defense committees a report that includes 
        the following:
                  (A) A description of the process for the application 
                for and approval of a permit or license under chapter 
                509 of title 51, United States Code, for the commercial 
                launch of a launch vehicle or commercial reentry of a 
                reentry vehicle, including the identification of--
                          (i) any unique requirements for operating on 
                        a United States Government launch site, reentry 
                        site, or launch property; and
                          (ii) any inconsistent, outmoded, or 
                        duplicative requirements or approvals.
                  (B) A description of current efforts, if any, to 
                coordinate and work across executive agencies to define 
                interagency processes and procedures for sharing 
                information, avoiding duplication of effort, and 
                resolving common agency requirements.
                  (C) Recommendations for legislation that may 
                further--
                          (i) streamline requirements in order to 
                        improve efficiency, reduce unnecessary costs, 
                        resolve inconsistencies, remove duplication, 
                        and minimize unwarranted constraints; and
                          (ii) consolidate or modify requirements 
                        across affected agencies into a single 
                        application set that satisfies the requirements 
                        identified in paragraph (1)(A).
          (3) Definitions.--For purposes of this subsection--
                  (A) any applicable definitions set forth in section 
                50902 of title 51, United States Code, shall apply;
                  (B) the terms ``launch'', ``reenter'', and 
                ``reentry'' include landing of a launch vehicle or 
                reentry vehicle; and
                  (C) the terms ``United States Government launch 
                site'' and ``United States Government reentry site'' 
                include any necessary facility, at that location, that 
                is commercially operated on United States Government 
                property.

SEC. 13. SPACE LAUNCH SYSTEM UPDATE.

  (a) Chapter 701.--
          (1) Amendment.--The chapter heading of chapter 701 of title 
        51, United States Code, is amended by striking ``SPACE 
        SHUTTLE'' and inserting ``SPACE LAUNCH SYSTEM''.
          (2) Conforming amendment.--The item relating to chapter 701 
        in the table of chapters at the beginning of title 51, United 
        States Code, is amended by striking ``Space Shuttle'' and 
        inserting ``Space Launch System''.
  (b) Section 70101.--
          (1) Amendments.--Section 70101 of title 51, United States 
        Code, is amended--
                  (A) in the section heading, by striking ``space 
                shuttle'' and inserting ``Space Launch System''; and
                  (B) by striking ``space shuttle'' and inserting 
                ``Space Launch System''.
          (2) Conforming amendment.--The item relating section 70101 in 
        the table of sections for chapter 701 of title 51, United 
        States Code is amended by striking ``space shuttle'' and 
        inserting ``Space Launch System''.
  (c) Section 70102.--
          (1) Amendments.--Section 70102 of title 51, United States 
        Code, is amended--
                  (A) in the section heading, by striking ``Space 
                shuttle'' and inserting ``Space Launch System'';
                  (B) in subsection (a)(1)(A), by striking ``space 
                shuttle'' both places it appears and inserting ``Space 
                Launch System'';
                  (C) in subsection (a)(1)(A)(i), by inserting 
                ``directly to cis-lunar space and the regions of space 
                beyond low-Earth orbit'' after ``human presence'';
                  (D) in subsection (a)(1)(B), by striking ``a shuttle 
                launch'' and inserting ``a launch of the Space Launch 
                System'';
                  (E) in subsection (a)(2), by striking ``a space 
                shuttle mission'' and inserting ``a mission of the 
                Space Launch System'';
                  (F) in subsection (b)--
                          (i) by striking ``space shuttle'' each place 
                        it appears and inserting ``Space Launch 
                        System''; and
                          (ii) by striking ``from the shuttle'' and 
                        inserting ``from the Space Launch System'';
                  (G) in subsection (c), by striking ``space shuttle'' 
                and inserting ``Space Launch System''; and
                  (H) by adding at the end the following new 
                subsection:
  ``(d) Definition.--In this section, the term `Space Launch System' 
means the Space Launch System authorized under section 302 of the 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 
2010.''.
          (2) Conforming amendment.--The item relating section 70102 in 
        the table of sections for chapter 701 of title 51, United 
        States Code is amended by striking ``Space shuttle'' and 
        inserting ``Space Launch System''.
  (d) Section 70103.--
          (1) Amendments.--Section 70103 of title 51, United States 
        Code, is amended--
                  (A) in the section heading, by striking ``space 
                shuttle'' and inserting ``Space Launch System''; and
                  (B) by striking ``space shuttle'' each place it 
                appears and inserting ``Space Launch System''.
          (2) Conforming amendment.--The item relating section 70103 in 
        the table of sections for chapter 701 of title 51, United 
        States Code is amended by striking ``space shuttle'' and 
        inserting ``Space Launch System''.

                     Committee Statement and Views


                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    The purpose of H.R. 2262, the ``SPACE Act of 2015,'' is to 
facilitate a pro-growth environment for the developing 
commercial space industry by encouraging private sector 
investment, creating more stable and predictable regulatory 
conditions, and improving safety.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    The commercial human space flight industry is still in its 
infancy, but has grown significantly since the Commercial Space 
Launch Amendments Act of 2004 (CSLAA). Entrepreneurial 
companies have raised billions of dollars with the hopes of 
taking customers to space. Other companies are investing and 
developing the technical capability to explore and utilize 
outer space resources. Still others are investing in space-
based remote sensing technologies, an industry which is 
experiencing unprecedented growth.
    The safety framework that will govern the commercial human 
spaceflight industry is, as yet, undetermined. Absent a clear 
and balanced safety framework for commercial human spaceflight, 
the industry cannot effectively plan for its future, nor can it 
compete with international providers of similar services.
    Currently, any individual or private entity wishing to 
conduct a commercial space launch or reentry in the United 
States or operate a launch or reentry site in the United States 
must obtain a license from the Federal Aviation Administration 
(FAA) to do so. Furthermore, citizens of the United States must 
obtain authorization from the FAA to conduct commercial space 
launches or reentries or to operate launch or reentry sites 
anywhere in the world. The Department of Transportation derives 
its authority over commercial space transportation from the 
Commercial Space Launch Act (CSLA) and has delegated that 
authority to the FAA's Office of the Associate Administrator 
for Commercial Space Transportation (AST). AST has the dual 
mandate of regulating and promoting the commercial space 
transportation industry in the United States.
    In 1988, Congress amended the CSLA to indemnify the 
commercial space launch industry against successful claims by 
uninvolved third parties. The CSLA requires that private launch 
companies purchase sufficient liability insurance to cover 
potential losses in the event of an accident. This amount is 
determined by the FAA on a case-by-case basis depending on its 
calculation of the `maximum probable loss' (MPL) from potential 
claims by a third party. MPL calculations are capped at $500 
million for coverage against suits by private entities. Any 
loss incurred between $500 million and $1.5 billion is covered 
by the federal government.
    Since its enactment, the CSLA's indemnification regime has 
been subject to an expiration date. Congress has extended the 
expiration date on several occasions. At present, FAA-licensed 
launch operators are offered indemnification under the 
statutorily prescribed procedures through December 31, 2016.
    H.R. 2262 is necessary to achieve several goals that will 
promote the development of the emerging commercial human space 
flight industry. First, the bill preserves FAA's ability to 
regulate commercial human spaceflight in order to protect the 
uninvolved public, national security, public health and safety, 
safety of property, and foreign policy. Second, the bill 
extends the learning period to 2025 to allow the FAA to gain 
data to inform framework safety framework that may include 
future regulations, and calls for a progress report on the 
status of the knowledge the industry and FAA have gained. The 
Act also allows for industry to develop consensus standards in 
the interim and coordinate those efforts with the FAA. Third, 
the bill extends indemnification to 2025 and requires an update 
to how the FAA calculates MPL. Fourth, the bill closes a 
statutory loophole that would have negated an experimental 
permit once a launch license was issued for the same vehicle 
design. Fifth, the bill adds ``government astronaut'' as a 
category of individuals carried within a spacecraft. Sixth, the 
bill includes spaceflight participants in indemnification 
coverage and cross waiver requirements. Seventh, the bill 
ensures that federal courts review lawsuits resulting from 
accidents since the federal government is ultimately the 
responsible party as a result of the Launch Liability 
Convention. Eighth, the bill requires a report on the current 
roles and responsibilities within the government, private 
sector, and international community related to space 
situational awareness, orbital traffic management, and orbital 
debris mitigation measures.
    The bill also makes changes to laws affecting the 
exploration and utilization of space resources by establishing 
a legal framework to govern property rights of resources 
obtained from asteroids. It provides civil action for relief 
from harmful interference to asteroid utilization operations 
subject to certain conditions, directs the President to 
facilitate commercial utilization, discourage government 
barriers, promote the right of United States commercial 
entities to explore outer space and utilize space resources, 
and submit to Congress a report containing recommendations on 
regulatory uncertainty and authorizations necessary to meet the 
international obligations of the U.S.
    The bill provides metrics to inform the workload affecting 
the Department of Commerce, informs Congress about the 
Department's ability to meet the statutory deadline for 
adjudicating license applications, strengthens Congressional 
oversight to ensure the Department continues to monitor 
licensee operations to protect national security throughout the 
lifetime of the license, requires Congressional notification of 
violations of license conditions, and aids Congress in updating 
the existing statute at a future point to reflect the current 
state of the art for remote sensing technologies. Moreover, the 
bill reinforces Congress' expectation that the federal 
government balance national security with maintaining U.S. 
private-sector leadership in the field.
    Finally, the bill renames the Office of Space 
Commercialization the Office of Space Commerce and updates the 
functions of this Office so the Office can more effectively 
foster the conditions of economic growth and technological 
advancement of the U.S. commercial space industry.

                        COMMERCIAL SPACE LAUNCH

    Title I facilitates a pro-growth environment for the 
developing commercial space industry by encouraging private 
sector investment, creating more stable and predictable 
regulatory conditions, and improving safety. This Title will 
ensure American leadership in space and foster the development 
of advanced space technologies. The Title amends Chapter 509, 
Title 51, United States Code.

Sec. 101. Consensus standards

    In 2004, Congress passed the Commercial Space Launch 
Amendments Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-492) to promote the emerging 
commercial human spaceflight industry following the successful 
suborbital flights of SpaceShipOne. This legislation included a 
``regulatory learning period,'' (51 USC 50905(c)(3)). During 
floor debate on the Act, the bill's author, Rep. Dana 
Rohrabacher, made clear that the learning period was included 
to ensure that the Secretary of Transportation (the Secretary) 
would not overregulate the industry before it had the 
opportunity to grow. Without launching and operating commercial 
human spaceflights, industry and regulators have limited data 
to inform safety regulations, which could lead to uninformed or 
unnecessary regulations that would stifle the growing industry.
    The 2004 Act included a sunset for the learning period 
which ended in 2012. However, recognizing there was still a 
great deal of testing and data to gather on these human launch 
systems, Congress extended the period to October 1, 2015 in the 
FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Sec. 827 of P.L. 112-
95).
    Under the CSLA, launch providers are required to provide 
informed consent for spaceflight participants, that ``the 
United States Government has not certified the launch vehicle 
as safe for carrying crew or space flight participants,'' (51 
USC 50905(4)(b)). This informed consent mechanism is meant to 
ensure transparency and full disclosure for the participant 
that there is an inherent risk in spaceflight and that the 
Secretary has not certified the vehicle as safe for the general 
public.
    The Secretary is obliged to enact only those regulations 
which restrict design features or operating practices that (1) 
protect the public health and safety, safety of property, 
national security interests, and foreign policy interests of 
the United States (51 USC 50905(c)(4)); (2) have resulted in a 
serious or fatal injury (51 USC 50905 (c)(2)(C)(i)); or (3) 
contributed to an unplanned event or series of events during a 
licensed or permitted commercial human space flight that posed 
a high risk of causing a serious or fatal injury (51 USC 50905 
(c)(2)(C)(ii)). This section does not alter those authorities.
    The Committee has added clarifying language to 50905(c) 
that makes it clear to the Secretary that communication and 
transparency are critical to the success of the development of 
a safety framework that protects spaceflight participants and 
encourages, facilitates, and promotes a vibrant commercial 
space industry. The Secretary is not limited, either by statute 
or congressional intent, from discussing potential approaches, 
potential performance standards, or any other topic related to 
the development of safety standards and regulations after the 
expiration of the learning period. The Committee encourages the 
Secretary to have open and transparent dialogue with the 
industry during the learning period that will facilitate and 
promote a culture of safety and cooperation with the Federal 
Government.
    In past extensions of the learning period, Congress chose 
to extend the sunset provision of 50905(c) absent benchmarking 
requirements to assess the development of the industry. As the 
industry continues to grow, arbitrary extensions of the 
learning period will be unhelpful to the formulation of policy 
as it pertains to the culture of safety and the maturity of 
safety systems in the industry. Given this, the Committee 
included three new benchmarking tools in the learning period 
extension that are unique to this bill and will assist the 
Committee in the development of future legislation.
    The first benchmarking tool is an amendment to 50905(c)(3) 
which creates a series of ``Interim Industry Voluntary 
Consensus Standards Reports'' to be issued biennially by the 
Secretary in consultation with the Commercial Space 
Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC). It is the intent 
of the Committee that this report be a collaborative work 
product between the Secretary and COMSTAC. Reports issued to 
Congress under this section which are not collaborative will be 
viewed as in noncompliance with this section. Sections (D) and 
(E) of this report offer similar, yet distinct, data points for 
the Committee. While section (D) will tell the committee what 
has been learned about the voluntary industry consensus 
standards or any other construction, best practices, and 
commercial space operations, Section (E) will describe the 
lessons learned about the development, application, and 
acceptance of these voluntary industry consensus standards or 
any other construction, best practices, and commercial space 
launch operations.
    The Committee also included an ``Interim Report on 
Knowledge and Operational Experience'' to be provided to the 
Committee biennially in parallel with the ``Interim Industry 
VoluntaryConsensus Standards Reports.'' As the Committee 
evaluates the development of the industry throughout the ten year 
extension of the learning period, it will be necessary to benchmark 
what was learned by both industry and the Secretary. Although the 
United States has over 50 years of government spaceflight experience 
regulated under NASA's tightly prescribed standards and management 
style, the Secretary has nearly no experience regulated for-profit 
space companies developing human spaceflight systems. As the industry 
changes during the learning period, the Committee must have a sense of 
how both commercial space companies and the Secretary are infusing 
``lessons learned'' into the development of a sustainable safety 
framework.
    Finally, the Committee included a capstone report called 
the ``Independent Review.'' This report is meant to evaluate 
the totality of the progress made by both the industry and the 
Secretary to develop industry consensus standards and assess 
the body of knowledge that was gained during the learning 
period. The independent review is critical to the Committee as 
a final benchmarking tool to assist in the formulation of 
either a statutory extension of the learning period or the 
construction of a safety framework that may include 
regulations. The Committee expects that the COMSTAC and the 
Secretary will work together with the independent contractor 
chosen for this review, to provide a transparent and definitive 
assessment of the progress that has been made.

Sec. 102. International launch competitiveness

    The Commercial Space Launch Act Amendments of 1988 (P.L. 
100-657) established a tiered risk-sharing regime for third-
party liabilities associated with commercial space launch 
(Section 5(a)). The purpose of the regime is to limit the 
liability of launch companies for claims made by the uninvolved 
public. As the federal government is responsible for the 
licensure and range control of launches, the government also 
shares in the liabilities associated with the inherently risky 
activity of space launch.
    There are three tiers to the regime. The first tier is the 
responsibility of the launch provider. Congress required that, 
as part of the licensure process for the launch, the provider 
must purchase insurance that covers third parties, including 
the government, for injury, loss or damage. The amount of this 
coverage is determined by the Secretary as the maximum probable 
loss (MPL). While the MPL could theoretically exceed it, the 
statute caps this liability at $500 million (51 USC 50914).
    The second tier is the ``indemnification'' portion of the 
regime. If a successful claim were to be in excess of the 
maximum probable loss, the government is authorized to pay, 
subject to appropriation, an amount up to a total of $1.5 
billion in claims over the first tier. This ceiling is adjusted 
for inflation and, according to a report by the Comptroller 
General, represents approximately $2.7 billion as of 2012.
    The final tier is the responsibility of the launch 
provider. The company or legally responsible party is liable 
for claims in excess of the maximum probable loss and the 
authorized $2.7 billion indemnification.
    The creation of the third-party liability regime in the 
CSLAA was debated extensively in the House Committee on 
Science, Space, and Technology as well as the House floor. When 
the Shuttle's involvement in commercial satellite launches 
ended, there were 44 satellite companies that had launch 
services agreements with NASA. Following the Challenger 
accident and the aggressive campaigns of the Europeans, 
Japanese, Chinese, and Soviets to launch those commercial 
satellites, Congress passed the CSLAA in 1988 in an attempt to 
give a backstop to a fledgling industry in hopes of growing 
domestic U.S. capabilities and keeping those launches and 
economic activities. Today, the major launching states--China, 
France, and Russia--all provide unlimited indemnification 
beyond the first-tier insurance requirement. Although the first 
tier varies between each regime, the fact remains that 
international competitors offer attractive indemnification 
incentives to launching entities.
    On October 10, 1967, the United States became a signatory 
to the Outer Space Treaty. Each signatory of the treaty is 
liable under Article VII for third-party damage ``to another 
State Party to the Treaty or to its natural or juridical 
persons by such object or its component parts on the Earth, in 
air space or in outer space, including the moon and other 
celestial bodies.'' Additionally, the Liability Convention of 
1974 obligates the United States to cover these damages whether 
the launch is private or government acquired.
    The use of the risk-sharing regime to satisfy treaty 
obligations is a necessary precaution under both documents. 
Whether the regime was in place or not, the United States would 
be subject to possible liability and restitution to the injured 
nation. However, it is unlikely that damages paid to a foreign 
country would exceed the MPL given the position of our 
launching facilities and that the early stages of launch are 
typically the most dangerous. It is likely that any damage 
would be covered by the first tier of the regime.
    The original legislation included a sunset provision to the 
launch liability regime which expired five years after passage. 
Since its original passage, this sunset has been extended nine 
times, most recently for three years until December 31, 2016. 
This section would extend the indemnification regime for 10 
years. Stopgap extensions of the regime create significant 
uncertainty for the launch industry and jeopardize U.S. launch 
capabilities. The Committee held multiple hearings including 
one on February 4, 2014, wherein the Government Accountability 
Office testified that, ``ending federal indemnification could 
lead to higher launch prices for U.S.-based launch companies, 
making them less price competitive than foreign launch 
companies.'' The Committee believes that the extension of the 
regime for longer periods of time is imperative for the 
stability of the launch market.
    In addition to extension of the sunset provision, the 
Committee believes an update to the maximum probable loss 
calculations required in section 50914 of Title 51 are 
necessary to ensure the stability of the regime. In July of 
2012, in response to a request from former Senate Commerce, 
Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman Senator John 
Rockefeller and House Science, Space, and Technology Chairman 
Ralph Hall, the Comptroller General did a review of the 
Secretary's management of the launch indemnification regime. 
This report included recommendations for updates to the 
calculations used to determine maximum probable loss. This 
section requires that a plan to implement these updates be 
provided to Congress within 180 days of enactment. For the 
insurance market and launch providers to have faith in the 
indemnification regime, it is imperative that these 
calculations be updated in a timely and transparent manner such 
that Congress will have sufficient data to inform future 
legislation.

Sec. 103. Launch license flexibility

    This section closes a statutory loophole inadvertently 
created in Subsection 2(c) of the Commercial Space Launch Act 
Amendments of 2004 (P.L. 108-492). This section invalidates an 
experimental permit issued for a particular design of a 
reusable suborbital rocket after a license had been issued for 
the launch or reentry of a rocket of that same design. The 
practical effect of this statute is that operators of launch or 
reentry vehicles can only improve on their designs under the 
cumbersome licensing process rather than employ the 
experimental permit which allows for constant innovation and 
development. Additionally, if the company manufacturing the 
launch or reentry vehicle is a separate entity from the one 
operating it, the manufacturer loses all ability to test and 
evolve the launch or reentry vehicle once a license is issued 
to the operational company. The Committee believes that this 
loophole significantly stifles the ability of the industry to 
improve safety systems and mission critical components of their 
vehicles.
    On February 4, 2014, the author of the 2004 Act, Rep. Dana 
Rohrabacher, told the Committee during debate over this 
provision that, ``we never intended a company's ability to test 
their vehicle or gather additional safety information to be 
limited simply because the license has been approved.'' During 
this same hearing, Dr. George Nield, Assistant Administrator 
for the Office of Commercial Space Transportation, testified 
that the law as written ``doesn't make any sense at all.''
    The Committee believes that the ability to innovate and 
improve safety systems is paramount to the development of a 
strong commercial space industry and this provision will do 
just that by allowing an experimental permit holder to continue 
testing while a license holder conducts operations.

Sec. 104. Government astronauts

    The Administration first notified the Committee in November 
of 2013 that a change to the CSLA would be needed to support 
the success of the Commercial Crew Program at NASA as well as 
overall commercial human space launch endeavors. At present, 
federal law does not define the term ``government astronaut'' 
for the purposes of launch licensure by the Secretary. This 
presents challenges for the Federal Aviation Administration, 
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the 
Commercial Crew Contractors, and the government astronauts 
themselves. At present, there are only two categories of 
persons involved in the launch or reentry of a launch vehicle 
while on board the vehicle, crew and spaceflight participants. 
Crew is defined as ``any employee of a licensee or transferee, 
or of a contractor or subcontractor of a licensee or 
transferee, who performs activities in the course of that 
employment directly relating to the launch, reentry, or other 
operation of or in a launch vehicle or reentry vehicle that 
carries human beings,'' and a spaceflight participant is 
defined as ``an individual, who is not crew, carried within a 
launch vehicle or reentry vehicle.'' For government astronauts 
to be protected under the licensing structure for launch 
vehicles, their roles and responsibilities must be codified in 
the statute. The Committee finds the underlying situation 
unacceptable and in need of legislative relief.
    The Committee received technical assistance from the 
Federal Aviation Administration and the National Aeronautics 
and Space Administration as to the most effective way to solve 
this challenge. While the assistance was helpful, in the 
opinion of the Committee, it was incomplete. The original 
technical assistance provided to the Committee was overly 
broad. The Committee chose to remedy this broader definition by 
included a designation responsibility for the Administrator of 
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (the 
Administrator). The Committee believes this is a key component 
of the government astronaut definition. The Committee believes 
the onus should be on the Administrator to determine who does 
or does not qualify as a government astronaut based on decades 
of training experience.
    This section should not be interpreted to allow the 
Secretary to exercise any jurisdiction over the interpretation 
of what is or is not a government astronaut once the 
Administrator has determined and so transmitted such 
determination to the Secretary. The final determination as to a 
person's designation as such lies with the Administrator. The 
Committee expects the Secretary and the Administrator to 
develop a memorandum of agreement or some other framework for 
the efficient transmission or notification to the Secretary 
from the Administrator that a person has been designated by the 
Administrator as a government astronaut.

Sec. 105. Indemnification for spaceflight participants

    The Commercial Space Launch Act currently makes a 
distinction between customers that purchase a launch (whether 
it is a payload or a launch for compensation or hire on a 
humanspaceflight launch) and a customer who sponsors the launch of a 
spaceflight participant and the spaceflight participants themselves. 
The result is that there is no requirement for the launch provider to 
provide insurance coverage under named additional parties to a launch 
(51 USC 50904(a)(4)) or for the government to indemnify the participant 
from damages that exceed the maximum probable loss calculation should 
there be an accident (51 USC 50915 (a)(1)(B)). This gap in coverage for 
the space flight participant results in systemic discrimination against 
those spaceflight participants that are not wealthy enough to purchase 
third-party liability insurance individually. In practice, it forces 
space tourism and human commercial space operations to be the sole 
province of those with the means to indemnify themselves. The Committee 
feels the ability to participate in human commercial space activities 
should be extended to everyone.
    This section addresses the inequality presented in the 
current law and requires the government and launch providers to 
treat spaceflight participants the same way it treats all other 
parties to a launch. They are required to be covered under the 
launch provider's insurance for the maximum probable loss as an 
additional party to the launch but would not bear additional 
financial exposure above this requirement.

Sec. 106. Federal jurisdiction

    The Launch Liability Convention, to which the U.S. is a 
party, places international liability for space launch and 
reentry accidents on the federal government. This provision 
ensures that federal courts review lawsuits resulting from 
accidents since the federal government is responsible under the 
Launch Liability Convention, not the states. This provision 
also prevents venue shopping to ensure that suits are treated 
fairly. It is not the intent for this section to preempt state 
tort law. Federal courts should apply state substantive law to 
resolve claims and accept a reading of this section that 
disfavors pre-emption.
    The Committee notes that there is a need to develop 
substantive Federal law in this area. Doing so will provide 
legal consistency for space transportation activities that 
cross state boundaries. Absent substantive Federal law, in 
future litigation there may be multiple state substantive laws, 
some of which may be in conflict, potentially applicable to the 
case in question creating inducements for plaintiffs to forum 
shop between state jurisdictions. However, the Committee is 
concerned that absent a more defined statutory framework for 
the Federal courts to adjudicate such claims there is the 
possibility that there may be a gap in substantive Federal law. 
For this reason, the intent of the Committee is to prohibit 
preemption and instruct the Courts to apply state substantive 
law to resolve claims.

Sec. 107. Cross-waivers

    Current law requires all parties involved in a launch to 
exchange a reciprocal waiver of claims against each other in 
the event of an accident or other mishap (51 USC 50914(b)). 
This exchange is meant to ensure that, due to the inherently 
risky proposition of space travel, all the parties to the 
launch understand their rights and responsibilities should they 
incur some sort of damage in the course of their participation 
in this activity. The CSLAA requires all spaceflight 
participants to receive informed consent regarding the 
inherently risky activity in which they are participating (51 
USC 50905(b)). Although informed consent is required, there is 
no statutory enforcement or protection for the launch 
providers.
    By contrast, in the case of a payload launch, a mutual 
waiver of claims is required as part of the license for all the 
parties to the launch. This structure has served the space 
payload industry and the launch providers very well. This 
section of the bill requires the launch of spaceflight 
participants to follow the same regulatory practices as payload 
providers. The courts have given, and the Secretary has 
included in regulations, direction for relief in the case of 
gross negligence or willful misconduct. Two separate federal 
court cases in the fourth circuit held that claims of gross 
negligence are not waived, according to the Court's dicta, 
under the 1988 Amendments to the Commercial Space Launch Act. 
Martin Marietta Corp. v. Int'l Telecommunications Satellite 
Org. (INTELSAT), 763 F. Supp. 1327 (D. Md. 1991) aff'd in part, 
rev'd in part sub nom. Martin Marietta Corp. v. Int'l 
Telecommunications Satellite Org., 991 F.2d 94 (4th Cir. 1992) 
and Martin Marietta Corp. v. Int'l Telecommunications Satellite 
Org., 991 F.2d 94 (4th Cir. 1992)).
    The Preamble to Part 440 of the FAA's regulations related 
to waivers of claim explicitly recognizes that ``Congress 
intended the statutory revisions of 1988 and of 2004 to reduce 
litigation expenses by requiring launch participants to assume 
responsibility for their own losses, except in cases of gross 
negligence.'' This is reinforced by previous Committee reports 
on updates to the Commercial Space Launch Act. In the 
Commercial Space Launch Act Amendments of 2004 (P.L. 108-492), 
this Committee made clear in the Committee Report that ``all 
parties to the reciprocal waiver agreements will benefit 
inasmuch as potential liabilities are eliminated in the case of 
a launch mishap. However, the Committee believes that claims of 
gross negligence against a licensee, transferee or permittee by 
space flight participants or crew are not waived,'' (House 
Report 108-429). The Committee reiterates that it is not the 
intent of this legislation to prohibit claims of gross 
negligence or willful misconduct under the exchange of cross-
waivers.

Sec. 108. Orbital traffic management

    The Act requires a report on the current roles and 
responsibilities within the government, private sector, and 
international community related to space situational awareness, 
orbital traffic management, and orbital debris mitigation 
measures.
    As the commercial space launch market continues to grow, 
the Committee recognizes that there may be a need for Congress 
to enumerate specific responsibilities or authorities for space 
traffic management and the mitigation and prevention of orbital 
debris to a specific agency or agencies. The Committee does not 
have enough data to determine the need for such authorities.
    The Committee expects this report to be broad in scope, but 
at a minimum address the issues described in the bill text. 
This reporting requirement should not be interpreted by any 
federal agency as legislative intent to alter the authorities 
granted to the Department of Defense to safeguard the national 
security.

Sec. 109. State commercial launch facilities

    The proliferation of state and local launch facilities in 
the last decade has been dramatic. The Committee recognizes 
that the regulations and federal statutes that govern space 
launch activities can be cumbersome. This provision finds that 
states and launch operators should seek to ensure that their 
activities and investments are properly protected in the event 
of an accident. The Committee does not believe that it is the 
role of the federal government to force states or private 
launch providers to purchase insurance to cover their assets, 
but does believe it behooves the parties involved in such 
activities to ensure that their assets are protected. This 
provision should not be interpreted by any federal agency to 
broaden the scope of the third-party liability insurance or 
third-party risk sharing regime to cover state and local launch 
facilities.

Sec. 110. Space support vehicles study

    As the human commercial space launch industry has grown, 
several secondary industries have also emerged. One such 
industry, the space support vehicles services industry, 
presents unique challenges for launch operators, support 
vehicle services companies, and the government. These space 
support vehicle operators offer training services to 
spaceflight participants who may be party to a launch under the 
Secretary's launch licensing authorities.
    The purpose of this section is to provide more information 
to Congress on the use of these services so as to assist the 
Committee in legislative efforts that will lead to the safe use 
of experimental aircraft in support of U.S. commercial space 
flight activities.

Sec. 111. Streamline commercial space launch activities

    The development and proliferation of regulations from 
federal agencies which are responsible for various stages of a 
space mission could become a barrier to some small and medium 
sized businesses. In an effort to increase efficiency and 
transparency and reduce government bureaucracy, the Committee 
directs the Secretary, in consultation with other appropriate 
federal agencies, to identify duplicative requirements so that 
Congress may provide legislative relief in the future.

Sec. 112. Space Launch System update

    This section is meant to provide additional flexibility for 
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and other 
federal agencies as necessary, to utilize the unique 
capabilities of the Space Launch System (SLS) for the benefit 
of the commercial space industry.
    The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) and the NASA 
Advisory Council (NAC) have warned about the dangers of a low 
flight rate for the SLS as currently planned. By amending this 
statute, the federal government will be able to utilize this 
important system for many purposes. Expanding the use of SLS 
will increase its launch rate which will, in turn, increase 
safety.
    This section will allow SLS to carry out a wide range of 
functions for the Federal government, including the Department 
of Defense, on a reimbursable basis. This will decrease costs 
of the overall program while increasing safety and mission 
assurance.
    It is the intent of the Committee to preserve the 
protections for commercial entities that currently exist under 
the law to ensure the SLS to be in competition with the 
commercial space industry.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    During the 113th and 114th Congresses, the House Committee 
on Science, Space, and Technology held 14 hearings and five 
markups relevant to this bill.
    On February 6, 2013, the House Committee on Science, Space, 
and Technology held a hearing titled ``American 
Competitiveness: The Role of Research and Development'' to 
examine the status of and outlook for America's science and 
technology enterprise, examining the impact of research and 
development (R&D;) on the lives of the American people and 
looking ahead to potential breakthrough innovations for the 
future. Witnesses discussed the historical context for American 
R&D;, how it is divided between public and private investments, 
where the U.S. ranks globally on innovation and investment, and 
what the future may hold for American innovation. The Committee 
heard testimony from Mr. Richard Templeton, President and CEO, 
Texas Instruments; Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, President, 
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; and Dr. Charles Vest, 
President, National Academy of Engineering.
    On February 28, 2013, the Subcommittee on Space held a 
hearing titled ``A Review of the Space Leadership Preservation 
Act'' to receive testimony on legislation (H.R. 6491) first 
introduced in the last Congress and re-introduced for the 113th 
Congress. This hearing informed the Science, Space, and 
Technology Committee's consideration of the policies, 
organization, programs, andbudget in re-authorizing the 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration in this Congress. The 
Subcommittee heard testimony from The Honorable Frank R. Wolf, Chairman 
of the Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee, The Honorable John 
Culberson, Mr. A Thomas Young, Chair of the Board for SAIC (testifying 
on his own behalf), and Mr. Elliot Pulham, Chief Executive Officer of 
The Space Foundation.
    On April 24, 2014, the Subcommittee on Space held a hearing 
titled ``An Overview of the National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration Budget for Fiscal Year 2014'' with NASA 
Administrator Charles Bolden to review the Administration's FY 
2014 budget request for the National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration and examine its priorities and challenges.
    On June 19, 2013, the Subcommittee on Space held a hearing 
titled, ``NASA Authorization Act of 2013.'' The purpose of the 
hearing was to review a discussion draft of the National 
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Authorization Act 
of 2013. The most recent NASA Authorization Act, passed in 
2010, authorized NASA for three years.
    On July 10, 2013, the Subcommittee on Space met to consider 
H.R. 2687, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration 
Authorization Act of 2013. This measure contained many 
provisions that affect commercial space.
    On July 18, 2013, the Committee on Science, Space, and 
Technology met to consider H.R. 2687, the National Aeronautics 
and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2013. This 
measure contained many provisions that affect commercial space.
    On November 20, 2013, the Subcommittee on Space held a 
hearing titled ``Commercial Space.'' The hearing examined ways 
in which companies are utilizing federal support and government 
policies to grow their commercial businesses in space launch, 
communications, GPS, remote sensing, weather monitoring, 
suborbital tourism and science experimentation, and human 
spaceflight. The witnesses addressed what government policies 
would be helpful to the U.S. commercial space industry. 
Witnesses also addressed the policies contained in H.R. 3038, 
the Suborbital and Orbital Advancement and Regulatory 
Streamlining (SOARS) Act. The first witness panel consisted of 
the Honorable Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip of the U.S. House 
of Representatives. The second panel consisted of: Ms. Patricia 
Cooper, President of the Satellite Industry Association; Mr. 
Stuart Witt, CEO and General Manager of the Mojave Air and 
Space Port; and Dennis Tito, Chairman of the Inspiration Mars 
Foundation.
    On February 4, 2014, the Subcommittee on Space held a 
hearing titled ``Necessary Updates to the Commercial Space 
Launch Act.'' The industry has grown since the passage of the 
Commercial Space Launch Act of 1984 (P.L. 98-575) thirty years 
ago, and this law has been amended several times since then. 
The Commercial Space Launch Act (CSLA) provides authority to 
the FAA to license launches and indemnify launch providers from 
third-party claims should an accident occur. The law also 
provides a framework for the FAA's authority. This hearing 
examined the various changes in the industry and what, if any, 
accompanying changes to the Commercial Space Launch Act may be 
needed going forward. The Committee heard from three witnesses: 
Dr. George Nield, Associate Administrator for Commercial Space 
Transportation at the Federal Aviation Administration; Dr. 
Alicia Cackley, Director of Financial Markets and Community 
Investment Team at the Government Accountability Office; and 
Dr. Henry Hertzfeld, Research Professor of Space Policy and 
International Affairs at the Elliot School of International 
Affairs at George Washington University.
    On March 27, 2014, the Subcommittee on Space of the House 
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing 
titled ``A Review of the National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration Budget for Fiscal Year 2015'' to review the 
Administration's fiscal year 2015 (FY15) budget request for the 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration and examine its 
priorities and challenges. The hearing had one witness, the 
Honorable Charles F. Bolden, Jr., Administrator of the National 
Aeronautics and Space Administration.
    On December 11, 2013, the Committee on Science, Space, and 
Technology met to consider H.R. 2413, the Weather Forecasting 
Improvement Act of 2013. This measure contained provisions 
regarding public safety and commercial satellites.
    On April 9, 2014, the Subcommittee on Space met to consider 
H.R. 4412, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration 
Authorization Act of 2014. The Act contained several provisions 
regarding barriers to commercial use of space.
    On April 29, 2014, the Committee on Science, Space, and 
Technology met to consider H.R. 4412, the National Aeronautics 
and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2014. The Act 
contained several provisions regarding barriers to commercial 
use of space.
    On May 9, 2014, the Space Subcommittee held a hearing 
titled ``Space Traffic Management: How to Prevent a Real Life 
`Gravity'.'' There are currently three agencies that play a 
primary role in tracking and mitigation of orbital debris that 
may be hazardous to operational satellites or life and property 
on Earth, if the debris is large enough upon reentering the 
Earth's atmosphere. The Joint Functional Component Command for 
Space (JFCC SPACE), part of the Department of Defense, is 
responsible for tracking orbital debris, the Federal 
Communications Commission (FCC) asserts jurisdiction for 
mitigating orbital debris from satellites, and the Federal 
Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates orbital debris from 
launch and reentry activities. This hearing explored the roles 
and responsibilities of the Department of Defense, FAA, and FCC 
in policing orbital debris, what authorities are currently 
granted by Congress to federal agencies, and how they 
coordinate these activities. The Subcommittee heard from five 
witnesses: Lt. Gen. John ``Jay'' Raymond--Commander, 14th Air 
Force, Air Force Space Command; and Commander, Joint Functional 
Component Command for Space, U.S. Strategic Command, Mr. George 
Zamka--Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Commercial 
Space Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Mr. 
Robert Nelson--Chief Engineer, International Bureau, Federal 
Communications Commission, Mr. P.J. Blount--Adjunct Professor, 
Air and Space Law, University of Mississippi School of Law, and 
Mr. Brian Weeden--Technical Advisor, Secure World Foundation.
    On June 25, 2014, the Science, Space, and Technology 
Committee held a hearing titled ``Pathways to Exploration: A 
Review of the Future of Human Space Exploration.'' Section 204 
of the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 required the agency to 
enter into a contract with the National Academies to review the 
future of human spaceflight. In 2012, the National Research 
Council appointed an ad hoc Committee on Human Spaceflight co-
chaired by Governor Daniels and Dr. Lunine. This hearing 
reviewed the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee's 
report Pathways to Exploration--Rationales and Approaches for a 
U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration released in June 2014. 
The Committee heard from two witnesses: Governor Mitch Daniels, 
Co-Chair of the Report and President, Purdue University and Dr. 
Jonathan Lunine, Co-Chair of the Report and Director, Cornell 
University's Center for Radiophysics and Space Research.
    On September 10, 2014, the hearing titled ``Exploring Our 
Solar System: The ASTEROIDS Act as a Key Step'' gave the 
Committee an overview of the variety of issues facing the 
planetary science community, including challenges the community 
is facing due to the low inventories of Pu-238 for deep space 
missions, NASA's proposed budget for planetary science, and 
potential commercial interests. Witnesses were also asked to 
comment on H.R. 5063, the American Space Technology for 
Exploring Resource Opportunities In Deep Space (ASTEROIDS) Act. 
The Subcommittee heard from five witnesses: Dr. Jim Green, NASA 
Planetary Science Division Director, Dr. Jim Bell, Professor of 
Earth and Space Science Exploration, Arizona State University, 
and President, Board of Directors, The Planetary Society, Dr. 
Mark Sykes, CEO and Director, Planetary Science Institute, 
Professor Joanne Gabrynowicz, Professor Emerita, Director 
Emerita, Journal of Space Law Editor-in-Chief Emerita, 
University of Mississippi, Dr. Philip Christensen, Co-Chair, 
NRC Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science (CAPS), 
Chair, Mars Panel, NRC Planetary Decadal Survey, Regents 
Professor, Arizona State University.
    On December 10, 2014, the Subcommittee on Space held a 
hearing titled ``An Update on the Space Launch System and 
Orion: Monitoring the Development of the Nation's Deep Space 
Exploration Capabilities'' to receive testimony regarding the 
heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion Multipurpose 
Crew Vehicle. This hearing informed the Committee on SLS and 
Orion issues relating to funding, staying on schedule, and NASA 
authorization among others. The Subcommittee heard testimony 
from Bill Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator for Human 
Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA and 
Christina Chaplain, Director, Government Accountability Office.
    On February 12, 2015 the Environment and Oversight 
Subcommittees held a joint hearing titled ``Bridging the Gap: 
America's Weather Satellites and Weather Forecasting.'' The 
purpose of the hearing was to provide an update of the 
operations and development of National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration's polar-orbiting and geostationary weather 
satellite programs and discuss recent Government Accountability 
Office reports on the two programs. In addition, the hearing 
discussed the use of satellite data in operational and research 
weather models and prediction methods. The Subcommittees 
received testimony from Mr. David Powner, Director, Information 
Technology Management Issues, Government Accountability Office; 
Dr. Stephen Volz, Assistant Administrator, National 
Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Services, 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and Mr. Steven 
Clarke, Director, Joint Agency Satellite Division, National 
Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Subcommittees were 
also joined for questioning by Dr. Alexander MacDonald, 
President, American Meteorological Society; Director, Earth 
System Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration; and Chief Science Advisor, Office of Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Research, National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration; and Mr. John Murphy, Director, Office of 
Science and Technology, National Weather Service, National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    On February 27, 2015, the Subcommittee on Space held a 
hearing titled ``The Commercial Crew Program: Challenges and 
Opportunities'' to review NASA's efforts to develop and acquire 
safe, reliable, and affordable crew transfer services to the 
International Space Station (ISS). The Subcommittee examined 
the progress of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, its acquisition 
model, and future challenges for the program as the contractors 
move towards certification. The Subcommittee heard from four 
witnesses: Mr. Bill Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator, 
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, National 
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); Vice Admiral 
Joseph Dyer, USN (Ret.), Chairman, Aerospace Safety Advisory 
Panel, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); 
Mr. John Mulholland, Vice President and Program Manager, 
Commercial Programs, The Boeing Company; and Dr. Garret 
Reisman, Director, Crew Operations, Space Exploration 
Technologies Corporation.
    On April 16, 2015, the Space Subcommittee held a hearing 
titled ``An Overview of the Budget Proposal for the National 
Aeronautics and Space Administration for Fiscal Year 2016.'' 
The purpose of the hearing was to review the Administration's 
fiscal year 2016 (FY16) budget request for the National 
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and examine the 
Administration's priorities and challenges. The sole witness 
was the Honorable Charles F. Bolden, Jr., Administrator, 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

                            Committee Views


                           SECTION-BY-SECTION

                        COMMERCIAL SPACE LAUNCH

    Title I facilitates a pro-growth environment for the 
developing commercial space industry by encouraging private 
sector investment, creating more stable and predictable 
regulatory conditions, and improving safety. This Title will 
ensure American leadership in space and foster the development 
of advanced space technologies. The Title amends Chapter 509, 
Title 51, United States Code.

Sec. 101. Consensus standards

    In 2004, Congress passed the Commercial Space Launch 
Amendments Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-492) to promote the emerging 
commercial human spaceflight industry following the successful 
suborbital flights of SpaceShipOne. This legislation included a 
``regulatory learning period,'' (51 USC 50905(c)(3)). During 
floor debate on the Act, the bill's author, Rep. Dana 
Rohrabacher, made clear that the learning period was included 
to ensure that the Secretary of Transportation (the Secretary) 
would not overregulate the industry before it had the 
opportunity to grow. Without launching and operating commercial 
human spaceflights, industry and regulators have limited data 
to inform safety regulations, which could lead to uninformed or 
unnecessary regulations that would stifle the growing industry.
    The 2004 Act included a sunset for the learning period 
which ended in 2012. However, recognizing there was still a 
great deal of testing and data to gather on these human launch 
systems, Congress extended the period to October 1, 2015 in the 
FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Sec. 827 of P.L. 112-
95).
    Under the CSLA, launch providers are required to provide 
informed consent for spaceflight participants, that ``the 
United States Government has not certified the launch vehicle 
as safe for carrying crew or space flight participants,'' (51 
USC 50905(4)(b)). This informed consent mechanism is meant to 
ensure transparency and full disclosure for the participant 
that there is an inherent risk in spaceflight and that the 
Secretary has not certified the vehicle as safe for the general 
public.
    The Secretary is obliged to enact only those regulations 
which restrict design features or operating practices that (1) 
protect the public health and safety, safety of property, 
national security interests, and foreign policy interests of 
the United States (51 USC 50905(c)(4)); (2) have resulted in a 
serious or fatal injury (51 USC 50905(c)(2)(C)(i)); or (3) 
contributed to an unplanned event or series of events during a 
licensed or permitted commercial human space flight that posed 
a high risk of causing a serious or fatal injury (51 USC 
50905(c)(2)(C)(ii)). This section does not alter those 
authorities.
    The Committee has added clarifying language to 50905(c) 
that makes it clear to the Secretary that communication and 
transparency are critical to the success of the development of 
a safety framework that protects spaceflight participants and 
encourages, facilitates, and promotes a vibrant commercial 
space industry. The Secretary is not limited, either by statute 
or congressional intent, from discussing potential approaches, 
potential performance standards, or any other topic related to 
the development of safety standards and regulations after the 
expiration of the learning period. The Committee encourages the 
Secretary to have open and transparent dialogue with the 
industry during the learning period that will facilitate and 
promote a culture of safety and cooperation with the Federal 
Government.
    In past extensions of the learning period, Congress chose 
to extend the sunset provision of 50905(c) absent benchmarking 
requirements to assess the development of the industry. As the 
industry continues to grow, arbitrary extensions of the 
learning period will be unhelpful to the formulation of policy 
as it pertains to the culture of safety and the maturity of 
safety systems in the industry. Given this, the Committee 
included three new benchmarking tools in the learning period 
extension that are unique to this bill and will assist the 
Committee in the development of future legislation.
    The first benchmarking tool is an amendment to 50905(c)(3) 
which creates a series of ``Interim Industry Voluntary 
Consensus Standards Reports'' to be issued biennially by the 
Secretary in consultation with the Commercial Space 
Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC). It is the intent 
of the Committee that this report be a collaborative work 
product between the Secretary and COMSTAC. Reports issued to 
Congress under this section which are not collaborative will be 
viewed as in noncompliance with this section. Sections (D) and 
(E) of this report offer similar, yet distinct, data points for 
the Committee. While section (D) will tell the committee what 
has been learned about the voluntary industry consensus 
standards or any other construction, best practices, and 
commercial space operations, Section (E) will describe the 
lessons learned about the development, application, and 
acceptance of these voluntary industry consensus standards or 
any other construction, best practices, and commercial space 
launch operations.
    The Committee also included an ``Interim Report on 
Knowledge and Operational Experience'' to be provided to the 
Committee biennially in parallel with the ``Interim Industry 
Voluntary Consensus Standards Reports.'' As the Committee 
evaluates the development of the industry throughout the ten 
year extension of the learning period, it will be necessary to 
benchmark what was learned by both industry and the Secretary. 
Although the United States has over 50 years of government 
spaceflight experience regulated under NASA's tightly 
prescribed standards and management style, the Secretary has 
nearly no experience regulated for-profit space companies 
developing human spaceflight systems. As the industry changes 
during the learning period, the Committee must have a sense of 
how both commercial space companies and the Secretary are 
infusing ``lessons learned'' into the development of a 
sustainable safety framework.
    Finally, the Committee included a capstone report called 
the ``Independent Review.'' This report is meant to evaluate 
the totality of the progress made by both the industry and the 
Secretary to develop industry consensus standards and assess 
the body of knowledge that was gained during the learning 
period. The independent review is critical to the Committee as 
a final benchmarking tool to assist in the formulation of 
either a statutory extension of the learning period or the 
construction of a safety framework that may include 
regulations. The Committee expects that the COMSTAC and the 
Secretary will work together with the independent contractor 
chosen for this review, to provide a transparent and definitive 
assessment of the progress that has been made.

Sec. 102. International launch competitiveness

    The Commercial Space Launch Act Amendments of 1988 (P.L. 
100-657) established a tiered risk-sharing regime for third-
party liabilities associated with commercial space launch 
(Section 5(a)). The purpose of the regime is to limit the 
liability of launch companies for claims made by the uninvolved 
public. As the federal government is responsible for the 
licensure and range control of launches, the government also 
shares in the liabilities associated with the inherently risky 
activity of space launch.
    There are three tiers to the regime. The first tier is the 
responsibility of the launch provider. Congress required that, 
as part of the licensure process for the launch, the provider 
must purchase insurance that covers third parties, including 
the government, for injury, loss or damage. The amount of this 
coverage is determined by the Secretary as the maximum probable 
loss (MPL). While the MPL could theoretically exceed it, the 
statute caps this liability at $500 million (51 USC 50914).
    The second tier is the ``indemnification'' portion of the 
regime. If a successful claim were to be in excess of the 
maximum probable loss, the government is authorized to pay, 
subject to appropriation, an amount up to a total of $1.5 
billion in claims over the first tier. This ceiling is adjusted 
for inflation and, according to a report by the Comptroller 
General, represents approximately $2.7 billion as of 2012.
    The final tier is the responsibility of the launch 
provider. The company or legally responsible party is liable 
for claims in excess of the maximum probable loss and the 
authorized $2.7 billion indemnification.
    The creation of the third-party liability regime in the 
CSLAA was debated extensively in the House Committee on 
Science, Space, and Technology as well as the House floor. When 
the Shuttle's involvement in commercial satellite launches 
ended, there were 44 satellite companies that had launch 
services agreements with NASA. Following the Challenger 
accident and the aggressive campaigns of the Europeans, 
Japanese, Chinese, and Soviets to launch those commercial 
satellites, Congress passed the CSLAA in 1988 in an attempt to 
give a backstop to a fledgling industry in hopes of growing 
domestic U.S. capabilities and keeping those launches and 
economic activities. Today, the major launching states--China, 
France, and Russia--all provide unlimited indemnification 
beyond the first-tier insurance requirement. Although the first 
tier varies between each regime, the fact remains that 
international competitors offer attractive indemnification 
incentives to launching entities.
    On October 10, 1967, the United States became a signatory 
to the Outer Space Treaty. Each signatory of the treaty is 
liable under Article VII for third-party damage ``to another 
State Party to the Treaty or to its natural or juridical 
persons by such object or its component parts on the Earth, in 
air space or in outer space, including the moon and other 
celestial bodies.'' Additionally, the Liability Convention of 
1974 obligates the United States to cover these damages whether 
the launch is private or government acquired.
    The use of the risk-sharing regime to satisfy treaty 
obligations is a necessary precaution under both documents. 
Whether the regime was in place or not, the United States would 
be subject to possible liability and restitution to the injured 
nation. However, it is unlikely that damages paid to a foreign 
country would exceed the MPL given the position of our 
launching facilities and that the early stages of launch are 
typically the most dangerous. It is likely that any damage 
would be covered by the first tier of the regime.
    The original legislation included a sunset provision to the 
launch liability regime which expired five years after passage. 
Since its original passage, this sunset has been extended nine 
times, most recently for three years until December 31, 2016. 
This section would extend the indemnification regime for 10 
years. Stopgap extensions of the regime create significant 
uncertainty for the launch industry and jeopardize U.S. launch 
capabilities. The Committee held multiple hearings including 
one on February 4, 2014, wherein the Government Accountability 
Office testified that, ``ending federal indemnification could 
lead to higher launch prices for U.S.-based launch companies, 
making them less price competitive than foreign launch 
companies.'' The Committee believes that the extension of the 
regime for longer periods of time is imperative for the 
stability of the launch market.
    In addition to extension of the sunset provision, the 
Committee believes an update to the maximum probable loss 
calculations required in section 50914 of Title 51 are 
necessary toensure the stability of the regime. In July of 
2012, in response to a request from former Senate Commerce, Science, 
and Transportation Committee Chairman Senator John Rockefeller and 
House Science, Space, and Technology Chairman Ralph Hall, the 
Comptroller General did a review of the Secretary's management of the 
launch indemnification regime. This report included recommendations for 
updates to the calculations used to determine maximum probable loss. 
This section requires that a plan to implement these updates be 
provided to Congress within 180 days of enactment. For the insurance 
market and launch providers to have faith in the indemnification 
regime, it is imperative that these calculations be updated in a timely 
and transparent manner such that Congress will have sufficient data to 
inform future legislation.

Sec. 103. Launch license flexibility

    This section closes a statutory loophole inadvertently 
created in Subsection 2(c) of the Commercial Space Launch Act 
Amendments of 2004 (P.L. 108-492). This section invalidates an 
experimental permit issued for a particular design of a 
reusable suborbital rocket after a license had been issued for 
the launch or reentry of a rocket of that same design. The 
practical effect of this statute is that operators of launch or 
reentry vehicles can only improve on their designs under the 
cumbersome licensing process rather than employ the 
experimental permit which allows for constant innovation and 
development. Additionally, if the company manufacturing the 
launch or reentry vehicle is a separate entity from the one 
operating it, the manufacturer loses all ability to test and 
evolve the launch or reentry vehicle once a license is issued 
to the operational company. The Committee believes that this 
loophole significantly stifles the ability of the industry to 
improve safety systems and mission critical components of their 
vehicles.
    On February 4, 2014, the author of the 2004 Act, Rep. Dana 
Rohrabacher, told the Committee during debate over this 
provision that, ``we never intended a company's ability to test 
their vehicle or gather additional safety information to be 
limited simply because the license has been approved.'' During 
this same hearing, Dr. George Nield, Assistant Administrator 
for the Office of Commercial Space Transportation, testified 
that the law as written ``doesn't make any sense at all.''
    The Committee believes that the ability to innovate and 
improve safety systems is paramount to the development of a 
strong commercial space industry and this provision will do 
just that by allowing an experimental permit holder to continue 
testing while a license holder conducts operations.

Sec. 104. Government astronauts

    The Administration first notified the Committee in November 
of 2013 that a change to the CSLA would be needed to support 
the success of the Commercial Crew Program at NASA as well as 
overall commercial human space launch endeavors. At present, 
federal law does not define the term ``government astronaut'' 
for the purposes of launch licensure by the Secretary. This 
presents challenges for the Federal Aviation Administration, 
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the 
Commercial Crew Contractors, and the government astronauts 
themselves. At present, there are only two categories of 
persons involved in the launch or reentry of a launch vehicle 
while on board the vehicle, crew and spaceflight participants. 
Crew is defined as ``any employee of a licensee or transferee, 
or of a contractor or subcontractor of a licensee or 
transferee, who performs activities in the course of that 
employment directly relating to the launch, reentry, or other 
operation of or in a launch vehicle or reentry vehicle that 
carries human beings,'' and a spaceflight participant is 
defined as ``an individual, who is not crew, carried within a 
launch vehicle or reentry vehicle.'' For government astronauts 
to be protected under the licensing structure for launch 
vehicles, their roles and responsibilities must be codified in 
the statute. The Committee finds the underlying situation 
unacceptable and in need of legislative relief.
    The Committee received technical assistance from the 
Federal Aviation Administration and the National Aeronautics 
and Space Administration as to the most effective way to solve 
this challenge. While the assistance was helpful, in the 
opinion of the Committee, it was incomplete. The original 
technical assistance provided to the Committee was overly 
broad. The Committee chose to remedy this broader definition by 
including a designation responsibility for the Administrator of 
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (the 
Administrator). The Committee believes this is a key component 
of the government astronaut definition. The Committee believes 
the onus should be on the Administrator to determine who does 
or does not qualify as a government astronaut based on decades 
of training experience.
    This section should not be interpreted to allow the 
Secretary to exercise any jurisdiction over the interpretation 
of what is or is not a government astronaut once the 
Administrator has determined and so transmitted such 
determination to the Secretary. The final determination as to a 
person's designation as such lies with the Administrator. The 
Committee expects the Secretary and the Administrator to 
develop a memorandum of agreement or some other framework for 
the efficient transmission or notification to the Secretary 
from the Administrator that a person has been designated by the 
Administrator as a government astronaut.

Sec. 105. Indemnification for spaceflight participants

    The Commercial Space Launch Act currently makes a 
distinction between customers that purchase a launch (whether 
it is a payload or a launch for compensation or hire on a human 
spaceflight launch) and a customer who sponsors the launch of a 
spaceflight participant and the spaceflight participants 
themselves. The result is that there is no requirement for the 
launch provider to provide insurance coverage under named 
additional parties to a launch (51 USC 50904(a)(4)) or for the 
government to indemnify the participant from damages that 
exceed the maximum probable loss calculation should there be an 
accident (51 USC 50915 (a)(1)(B)). This gap in coverage for the 
space flight participant results in systemic discrimination 
against those spaceflight participants that are not wealthy 
enough to purchase third-party liability insurance 
individually. In practice, it forces space tourism and human 
commercial space operations to be the sole province of those 
with the means to indemnify themselves. The Committee feels the 
ability to participate in human commercial space activities 
should be extended to everyone.
    This section addresses the inequality presented in the 
current law and requires the government and launch providers to 
treat spaceflight participants the same way it treats all other 
parties to a launch. They are required to be covered under the 
launch provider's insurance for the maximum probable loss as an 
additional party to the launch but would not bear additional 
financial exposure above this requirement.

Sec. 106. Federal jurisdiction

    The Launch Liability Convention, to which the U.S. is a 
party, places international liability for space launch and 
reentry accidents on the federal government. This provision 
ensures that federal courts review lawsuits resulting from 
accidents since the federal government is responsible under the 
Launch Liability Convention, not the states. This provision 
also prevents venue shopping to ensure that suits are treated 
fairly. It is not the intent for this section to preempt state 
tort law. Federal courts should apply state substantive law to 
resolve claims and accept a reading of this section that 
disfavors pre-emption.
    The Committee notes that there is a need to develop 
substantive Federal law in this area. Doing so will provide 
legal consistency for space transportation activities that 
cross state boundaries. Absent substantive Federal law, in 
future litigation there may be multiple state substantive laws, 
some of which may be in conflict, potentially applicable to the 
case in question creating inducements for plaintiffs to forum 
shop between state jurisdictions. However, the Committee is 
concerned that absent a more defined statutory framework for 
the Federal courts to adjudicate such claims there is the 
possibility that there may be a gap in substantive Federal law. 
For this reason, the intent of the Committee is to prohibit 
preemption and instruct the Courts to apply state substantive 
law to resolve claims.

Sec. 107. Cross-waivers

    Current law requires all parties involved in a launch to 
exchange a reciprocal waiver of claims against each other in 
the event of an accident or other mishap (51 USC 50914(b)). 
This exchange is meant to ensure that, due to the inherently 
risky proposition of space travel, all the parties to the 
launch understand their rights and responsibilities should they 
incur some sort of damage in the course of their participation 
in this activity. The CSLAA requires all spaceflight 
participants to receive informed consent regarding the 
inherently risky activity in which they are participating (51 
USC 50905(b)). Although informed consent is required, there is 
no statutory enforcement or protection for the launch 
providers.
    By contrast, in the case of a payload launch, a mutual 
waiver of claims is required as part of the license for all the 
parties to the launch. This structure has served the space 
payload industry and the launch providers very well. This 
section of the bill requires the launch of spaceflight 
participants to follow the same regulatory practices as payload 
providers. The courts have given, and the Secretary has 
included in regulations, direction for relief in the case of 
gross negligence or willful misconduct. Two separate federal 
court cases in the fourth circuit held that claims of gross 
negligence are not waived, according to the Court's dicta, 
under the 1988 Amendments to the Commercial Space Launch Act. 
Martin Marietta Corp. v. Int'l Telecommunications Satellite 
Org. (INTELSAT), 763 F. Supp. 1327 (D. Md. 1991) aff'd in part, 
rev'd in part sub nom. Martin Marietta Corp. v. Int'l 
Telecommunications Satellite Org., 991 F.2d 94 (4th Cir. 1992) 
and Martin Marietta Corp. v. Int'l Telecommunications Satellite 
Org., 991 F.2d 94 (4th Cir. 1992))
    The Preamble to Part 440 of the FAA's regulations related 
to waivers of claim explicitly recognizes that ``Congress 
intended the statutory revisions of 1988 and of 2004 to reduce 
litigation expenses by requiring launch participants to assume 
responsibility for their own losses, except in cases of gross 
negligence.'' This is reinforced by previous Committee reports 
on updates to the Commercial Space Launch Act. In the 
Commercial Space Launch Act Amendments of 2004 (P.L. 108-492), 
this Committee made clear in the Committee Report that ``all 
parties to the reciprocal waiver agreements will benefit 
inasmuch as potential liabilities are eliminated in the case of 
a launch mishap. However, the Committee believes that claims of 
gross negligence against a licensee, transferee or permittee by 
space flight participants or crew are not waived,'' (House 
Report 108-429). The Committee reiterates that it is not the 
intent of this legislation to prohibit claims of gross 
negligence or willful misconduct under the exchange of cross-
waivers.

Sec. 108. Orbital traffic management

    The Act requires a report on the current roles and 
responsibilities within the government, private sector, and 
international community related to space situational awareness, 
orbital traffic management, and orbital debris mitigation 
measures.
    As the commercial space launch market continues to grow, 
the Committee recognizes that there may be a need for Congress 
to enumerate specific responsibilities or authorities for space 
traffic management and the mitigation and prevention of orbital 
debris to a specific agency or agencies. The Committee does not 
have enough data to determine the need for such authorities.
    The Committee expects this report to be broad in scope, but 
at a minimum address the issues described in the bill text. 
This reporting requirement should not be interpreted by any 
federal agency as legislative intent to alter the authorities 
granted to the Department of Defense to safeguard the national 
security.

Sec. 109. State commercial launch facilities

    The proliferation of state and local launch facilities in 
the last decade has been dramatic. The Committee recognizes 
that the regulations and federal statutes that govern space 
launch activities can be cumbersome. This provision finds that 
states and launch operators should seek to ensure that their 
activities and investments are properly protected in the event 
of an accident. The Committee does not believe that it is the 
role of the federal government to force states or private 
launch providers to purchase insurance to cover their assets, 
but does believe it behooves the parties involved in such 
activities to ensure that their assets are protected. This 
provision should not be interpreted by any federal agency to 
broaden the scope of the third-party liability insurance or 
third-party risk sharing regime to cover state and local launch 
facilities.

Sec. 110. Space support vehicles study

    As the human commercial space launch industry has grown, 
several secondary industries have also emerged. One such 
industry, the space support vehicles services industry, 
presents unique challenges for launch operators, support 
vehicle services companies, and the government. These space 
support vehicle operators offer training services to 
spaceflight participants who may be party to a launch under the 
Secretary's launch licensing authorities.
    The purpose of this section is to provide more information 
to Congress on the use of these services so as to assist the 
Committee in legislative efforts that will lead to the safe use 
of experimental aircraft in support of U.S. commercial space 
flight activities.

Sec. 111. Streamline commercial space launch activities

    The development and proliferation of regulations from 
federal agencies which are responsible for various stages of a 
space mission could become a barrier to some small and medium 
sized businesses. In an effort to increase efficiency and 
transparency and reduce government bureaucracy, the Committee 
directs the Secretary, in consultation with other appropriate 
federal agencies, to identify duplicative requirements so that 
Congress may provide legislative relief in the future.

Sec. 112. Space Launch System update

    This section is meant to provide additional flexibility for 
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and other 
federal agencies as necessary, to utilize the unique 
capabilities of the Space Launch System (SLS) for the benefit 
of the commercial space industry.
    The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) and the NASA 
Advisory Council (NAC) have warned about the dangers of a low 
flight rate for the SLS as currently planned. By amending this 
statute, the federal government will be able to utilize this 
important system for many purposes. Expanding the use of SLS 
will increase its launch rate which will, in turn, increase 
safety.
    This section will allow SLS to carry out a wide range of 
functions for the Federal government, including the Department 
of Defense, on a reimbursable basis. This will decrease costs 
of the overall program while increasing safety and mission 
assurance.
    It is the intent of the Committee to preserve the 
protections for commercial entities that currently exist under 
the law to ensure the SLS to be in competition with the 
commercial space industry.

                       Explanation of Amendments

    An amendment offered by Mr. Knight alters the underlying 
bill to extend the learning period from December 31, 2023 to 
December 31, 2025 and extend the indemnification period from 
December 31, 2023 to December 31, 2025. The amendment also adds 
additional reporting requirements for the ``Interim Industry 
Voluntary Consensus Standards Report'' and the ``Interim Report 
on Knowledge and Operational Experience.'' The amendment was 
adopted.
    An amendment offered by Mr. Bridenstine adds a new section 
to the bill that directs the Comptroller General to provide to 
the relevant Congressional Committees a report on the use of 
space support vehicle services in the commercial space 
industry. The Amendment was adopted.
    An amendment offered by Mr. Posey adds a new section to the 
bill that requires the Secretary of transportation, in 
consultation with other relevant agencies, to eliminate 
duplicative requirements for commercial space launch 
operations. The amendment also requires the Secretary to report 
on such duplicative requirements and recommendations for 
legislative relief, if needed. The amendment was adopted.
    An amendment offered by Mr. Brooks adds a new section to 
the bill that updates Chapter 701 of Title 51 to reflect the 
use of new launch vehicles for launches under certain 
circumstances by replacing all mentions of ``Space Shuttle'' 
with ``Space Launch System.'' This amendment was adopted.

                        Committee Consideration

    On May 13, 2015, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered reported favorably the bill, H.R. 2262, as amended, by 
roll call vote, a quorum being present.

                            Roll Call Votes



              Application of Law to the Legislative Branch

    Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a 
description of the application of this bill to the legislative 
branch where the bill relates to the terms and conditions of 
employment or access to public services and accommodations. 
This bill facilitates a pro-growth environment for the 
developing commercial space industry by encouraging private 
sector investment, creating more stable and predictable 
regulatory conditions, and improving safety. As such this bill 
does not relate to employment or access to public services and 
accommodations.

  Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the Committee

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of 
this report.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance 
goals and objectives for H.R. 2262 are to ensure American 
leadership in space and foster the development of advanced 
space technologies.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    No provision of H.R. 2262 establishes or reauthorizes a 
program of the Federal Government known to be duplicative of 
another Federal program, a program that was included in any 
report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress 
pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program 
related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee estimates that enacting H.R. 2262 does not 
direct the completion of any specific rule makings within the 
meaning of 5 U.S.C. 551.

                     Federal Advisory Committee Act

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not establish 
or authorize the establishment of an advisory committee within 
the definition of 5 U.S.C. App., Section 5(b).

                       Unfunded Mandate Statement

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded 
Mandate Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement as to 
whether the provisions of the reported include unfunded 
mandates. In compliance with this requirement the Committee has 
received a letter from the Congressional Budget Office included 
herein.

                         Earmark Identification

    H.R. 2262 does not include any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 of rule XXI.

                           Committee Estimate

    Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the 
Committee of the costs that would be incurred in carrying out 
H.R. 2262. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) of that rule provides 
that this requirement does not apply when the Committee has 
included in its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the 
bill prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act.

     Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect 
to requirements of clause (3)(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives and section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has received 
the following cost estimate for H.R. 2262 from the Director of 
Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, May 18, 2015.
Hon. Lamar Smith,
Chairman, Committee on Science, Space and Technology,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2262, the SPACE 
Act of 2015.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Marin 
Burnett.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 2262--SPACE Act of 2015

    H.R. 2262 would direct the Department of Transportation 
(DOT), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration 
(NASA), and the Government Accountability Office to submit 
various reports to the Congress regarding commercial space 
operations and services, industry practices, as well as the 
potential liabilities associated with commercial space 
launches. Additionally, the bill would require DOT and NASA to 
contract with independent organizations to assess the 
commercial space industry and current regulations on space 
traffic and orbital activities.
    Based on information from those agencies and prior spending 
levels for related and similar activities, CBO estimates that 
implementing H.R. 2262 would cost about $5 million over the 
next few years, assuming appropriation of the necessary 
amounts. Enacting H.R. 2262 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    H.R. 2262 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined 
in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no 
costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    H.R. 2262 would impose private-sector mandates, as defined 
in UMRA, on the commercial space flight industry by imposing 
additional requirements on licensees that engage in manned 
space flights. The bill would require a licensee, as a 
condition of the license, to enter into a reciprocal waiver of 
claims with space flight participants (passengers). Based on 
information about current industry practice, CBO expects that 
licensees would enter into such waivers in the absence of the 
bill. Consequently, the cost of the mandate would be 
negligible. The bill also would require licensees to obtain 
insurance to cover passengers' activities. Based on information 
from industry experts, CBO expects that the cost of that 
mandate also would be small. Consequently, CBO estimates that 
the aggregate cost of the mandates would fall below the annual 
threshold established in UMRA for private-sector mandates ($154 
million in 2015, adjusted annually for inflation).
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Marin Burnett 
(for federal costs) and Amy Petz (for the private-sector 
impact). The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

                      TITLE 51, UNITED STATES CODE



                           Subtitle I--General

Chap.                                                               Sec.
      Definitions..................................................10101
     * * * * * * *

                      Subtitle VII--Access to Space

70101se of [Space Shuttle] Space Launch System or Alternatives........

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Subtitle V--PROGRAMS TARGETING COMMERCIAL OPPORTUNITIES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 509--COMMERCIAL SPACE LAUNCH ACTIVITIES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 50902. Definitions

  In this chapter--
          (1) ``citizen of the United States'' means--
                  (A) an individual who is a citizen of the 
                United States;
                  (B) an entity organized or existing under the 
                laws of the United States or a State; or
                  (C) an entity organized or existing under the 
                laws of a foreign country if the controlling 
                interest (as defined by the Secretary of 
                Transportation) is held by an individual or 
                entity described in subclause (A) or (B) of 
                this clause.
          (2) ``crew'' means any employee of a licensee or 
        transferee, or of a contractor or subcontractor of a 
        licensee or transferee, who performs activities in the 
        course of that employment directly relating to the 
        launch, reentry, or other operation of or in a launch 
        vehicle or reentry vehicle that carries human beings.
          (3) ``executive agency'' has the same meaning given 
        that term in section 105 of title 5.
          (4) ``government astronaut'' means an individual 
        designated as such by the Administrator of the National 
        Aeronautics and Space Administration, pursuant 
        requirements established by the Administrator, who--
                  (A) is an employee of--
                          (i) the United States Government, 
                        including the United States Armed 
                        Forces; or
                          (ii) a foreign government that is a 
                        party to the Intergovernmental 
                        Agreement Among the Government of 
                        Canada, Governments of Member States of 
                        the European Space Agency, the 
                        Government of Japan, the Government of 
                        the Russian Federation, and the 
                        Government of the United States of 
                        America Concerning Cooperation on the 
                        Civil International Space Station, 
                        signed on January 29, 1998; and
                  (B) is carried within a launch vehicle or 
                reentry vehicle in the course of his or her 
                employment, which may include performance of 
                activities directly relating to the launch, 
                reentry, or other operation of the launch 
                vehicle or reentry vehicle.
          [(4)] (5) ``launch'' means to place or try to place a 
        launch vehicle or reentry vehicle and any payload, 
        crew, government astronaut, or space flight participant 
        from Earth--
                  (A) in a suborbital trajectory;
                  (B) in Earth orbit in outer space; or
                  (C) otherwise in outer space,
        including activities involved in the preparation of a 
        launch vehicle or payload for launch, when those 
        activities take place at a launch site in the United 
        States.
          [(5)] (6) ``launch property'' means an item built 
        for, or used in, the launch preparation or launch of a 
        launch vehicle.
          [(6)] (7) ``launch services'' means--
                  (A) activities involved in the preparation of 
                a launch vehicle, payload, crew (including crew 
                training), government astronaut, or space 
                flight participant for launch; and
                  (B) the conduct of a launch.
          [(7)] (8) ``launch site'' means the location on Earth 
        from which a launch takes place (as defined in a 
        license the Secretary issues or transfers under this 
        chapter) and necessary facilities at that location.
          [(8)] (9) ``launch vehicle'' means--
                  (A) a vehicle built to operate in, or place a 
                payload or human beings in, outer space; and
                  (B) a suborbital rocket.
          [(9)] (10) ``obtrusive space advertising'' means 
        advertising in outer space that is capable of being 
        recognized by a human being on the surface of the Earth 
        without the aid of a telescope or other technological 
        device.
          [(10)] (11) ``payload'' means an object that a person 
        undertakes to place in outer space by means of a launch 
        vehicle or reentry vehicle, including components of the 
        vehicle specifically designed or adapted for that 
        object.
          [(11)] (12) except in section 50904(c), ``permit'' 
        means an experimental permit issued under section 
        50906.
          [(12)] (13) ``person'' means an individual and an 
        entity organized or existing under the laws of a State 
        or country.
          [(13)] (14) ``reenter'' and ``reentry'' mean to 
        return or attempt to return, purposefully, a reentry 
        vehicle and its payload, crew, government astronauts, 
        or space flight participants, if any, from Earth orbit 
        or from outer space to Earth.
          [(14)] (15) ``reentry services'' means--
                  (A) activities involved in the preparation of 
                a reentry vehicle and payload, crew (including 
                crew training), government astronaut, or space 
                flight participant, if any, for reentry; and
                  (B) the conduct of a reentry.
          [(15)] (16) ``reentry site'' means the location on 
        Earth to which a reentry vehicle is intended to return 
        (as defined in a license the Secretary issues or 
        transfers under this chapter).
          [(16)] (17) ``reentry vehicle'' means a vehicle 
        designed to return from Earth orbit or outer space to 
        Earth, or a reusable launch vehicle designed to return 
        from Earth orbit or outer space to Earth, substantially 
        intact.
          [(17) ``space flight participant'' means an 
        individual, who is not crew, carried within a launch 
        vehicle or reentry vehicle.]
          (18) ``space flight participant'' means an 
        individual, who is not crew or a government astronaut, 
        carried within a launch vehicle or reentry vehicle.
          [(18)] (19) ``State'' means a State of the United 
        States, the District of Columbia, and a territory or 
        possession of the United States.
          [(19)] (20) unless and until regulations take effect 
        under section 50922(c)(2), ``suborbital rocket'' means 
        a vehicle, rocket-propelled in whole or in part, 
        intended for flight on a suborbital trajectory, and the 
        thrust of which is greater than its lift for the 
        majority of the rocket-powered portion of its ascent.
          [(20)] (21) ``suborbital trajectory'' means the 
        intentional flight path of a launch vehicle, reentry 
        vehicle, or any portion thereof, whose vacuum 
        instantaneous impact point does not leave the surface 
        of the Earth.
          [(21)] (22) ``third party'' means a person except--
                  (A) the United States Government or the 
                Government's contractors or subcontractors 
                involved in launch services or reentry 
                services;
                  (B) a licensee or transferee under this 
                chapter;
                  (C) a licensee's or transferee's contractors, 
                subcontractors, or customers involved in launch 
                services or reentry services;
                  (D) the customer's contractors or 
                subcontractors involved in launch services or 
                reentry services; or
                  (E) crew, government astronauts, or space 
                flight participants.
          [(22)] (23) ``United States'' means the States of the 
        United States, the District of Columbia, and the 
        territories and possessions of the United States.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 50904. Restrictions on launches, operations, and reentries

  (a) Requirement.--A license issued or transferred under this 
chapter, or a permit, is required for the following:
          (1) for a person to launch a launch vehicle or to 
        operate a launch site or reentry site, or to reenter a 
        reentry vehicle, in the United States.
          (2) for a citizen of the United States (as defined in 
        section 50902(1)(A) or (B) of this title) to launch a 
        launch vehicle or to operate a launch site or reentry 
        site, or to reenter a reentry vehicle, outside the 
        United States.
          (3) for a citizen of the United States (as defined in 
        section 50902(1)(C) of this title) to launch a launch 
        vehicle or to operate a launch site or reentry site, or 
        to reenter a reentry vehicle, outside the United States 
        and outside the territory of a foreign country unless 
        there is an agreement between the United States 
        Government and the government of the foreign country 
        providing that the government of the foreign country 
        has jurisdiction over the launch or operation or 
        reentry.
          (4) for a citizen of the United States (as defined in 
        section 50902(1)(C) of this title) to launch a launch 
        vehicle or to operate a launch site or reentry site, or 
        to reenter a reentry vehicle, in the territory of a 
        foreign country if there is an agreement between the 
        United States Government and the government of the 
        foreign country providing that the United States 
        Government has jurisdiction over the launch or 
        operation or reentry.
Notwithstanding this subsection, a permit shall not authorize a 
person to operate a launch site or reentry site.
  (b) Compliance With Payload Requirements.--The holder of a 
license or permit under this chapter may launch or reenter a 
payload only if the payload complies with all requirements of 
the laws of the United States related to launching or 
reentering a payload.
  (c) Preventing Launches and Reentries.--The Secretary of 
Transportation shall establish whether all required licenses, 
authorizations, and permits required for a payload have been 
obtained. If no license, authorization, or permit is required, 
the Secretary may prevent the launch or reentry if the 
Secretary decides the launch or reentry would jeopardize the 
public health and safety, safety of property, or national 
security or foreign policy interest of the United States.
  (d) Single License or Permit.--The Secretary of 
Transportation shall ensure that only 1 license or permit is 
required from the Department of Transportation to conduct 
activities involving crew, government astronauts, or space 
flight participants, including launch and reentry, for which a 
license or permit is required under this chapter. The Secretary 
shall ensure that all Department of Transportation regulations 
relevant to the licensed or permitted activity are satisfied.

Sec. 50905. License applications and requirements

  (a) Applications.--(1) A person may apply to the Secretary of 
Transportation for a license or transfer of a license under 
this chapter in the form and way the Secretary prescribes. 
Consistent with the public health and safety, safety of 
property, and national security and foreign policy interests of 
the United States, the Secretary, not later than 180 days after 
accepting an application in accordance with criteria 
established pursuant to subsection (b)(2)(D), shall issue or 
transfer a license if the Secretary decides in writing that the 
applicant complies, and will continue to comply, with this 
chapter and regulations prescribed under this chapter. The 
Secretary shall inform the applicant of any pending issue and 
action required to resolve the issue if the Secretary has not 
made a decision not later than 120 days after accepting an 
application in accordance with criteria established pursuant to 
subsection (b)(2)(D). The Secretary shall transmit to the 
Committee on Science of the House of Representatives and the 
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the 
Senate a written notice not later than 30 days after any 
occurrence when the Secretary has not taken action on a license 
application within the deadline established by this subsection.
          (2) In carrying out paragraph (1), the Secretary may 
        establish procedures for safety approvals of launch 
        vehicles, reentry vehicles, safety systems, processes, 
        services, or personnel (including approval procedures 
        for the purpose of protecting the health and safety of 
        [crews and space flight participants] crew, government 
        astronauts, and space flight participants, to the 
        extent permitted by subsections (b) and (c)) that may 
        be used in conducting licensed commercial space launch 
        or reentry activities.
  (b) Requirements.--(1) Except as provided in this subsection, 
all requirements of the laws of the United States applicable to 
the launch of a launch vehicle or the operation of a launch 
site or a reentry site, or the reentry of a reentry vehicle, 
are requirements for a license or permit under this chapter.
          (2) The Secretary may prescribe--
                  (A) any term necessary to ensure compliance 
                with this chapter, including on-site 
                verification that a launch, operation, or 
                reentry complies with representations stated in 
                the application;
                  (B) any additional requirement necessary to 
                protect the public health and safety, safety of 
                property, national security interests, and 
                foreign policy interests of the United States;
                  (C) by regulation that a requirement of a law 
                of the United States not be a requirement for a 
                license or permit if the Secretary, after 
                consulting with the head of the appropriate 
                executive agency, decides that the requirement 
                is not necessary to protect the public health 
                and safety, safety of property, and national 
                security and foreign policy interests of the 
                United States;
                  (D) additional license requirements, for a 
                launch vehicle carrying a human being for 
                compensation or hire, necessary to protect the 
                health and safety of crew, government 
                astronauts, or space flight participants, only 
                if such requirements are imposed pursuant to 
                final regulations issued in accordance with 
                subsection (c); and
                  (E) regulations establishing criteria for 
                accepting or rejecting an application for a 
                license or permit under this chapter within 60 
                days after receipt of such application.
          (3) The Secretary may waive a requirement, including 
        the requirement to obtain a license, for an individual 
        applicant if the Secretary decides that the waiver is 
        in the public interest and will not jeopardize the 
        public health and safety, safety of property, and 
        national security and foreign policy interests of the 
        United States. The Secretary may not grant a waiver 
        under this paragraph that would permit the launch or 
        reentry of a launch vehicle or a reentry vehicle 
        without a license or permit if a human being will be on 
        board.
          (4) The holder of a license or a permit under this 
        chapter may launch or reenter crew only if--
                  (A) the crew has received training and has 
                satisfied medical or other standards specified 
                in the license or permit in accordance with 
                regulations promulgated by the Secretary;
                  (B) the holder of the license or permit has 
                informed any individual serving as crew in 
                writing, prior to executing any contract or 
                other arrangement to employ that individual 
                (or, in the case of an individual already 
                employed as of the date of enactment of the 
                Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004, 
                as early as possible, but in any event prior to 
                any launch in which the individual will 
                participate as crew), that the United States 
                Government has not certified the launch vehicle 
                as safe for carrying crew or space flight 
                participants; and
                  (C) the holder of the license or permit and 
                crew have complied with all requirements of the 
                laws of the United States that apply to crew.
          (5) The holder of a license or a permit under this 
        chapter may launch or reenter a space flight 
        participant only if--
                  (A) in accordance with regulations 
                promulgated by the Secretary, the holder of the 
                license or permit has informed the space flight 
                participant in writing about the risks of the 
                launch and reentry, including the safety record 
                of the launch or reentry vehicle type, and the 
                Secretary has informed the space flight 
                participant in writing of any relevant 
                information related to risk or probable loss 
                during each phase of flight gathered by the 
                Secretary in making the determination required 
                by section 50914(a)(2) and (c);
                  (B) the holder of the license or permit has 
                informed any space flight participant in 
                writing, prior to receiving any compensation 
                from that space flight participant or (in the 
                case of a space flight participant not 
                providing compensation) otherwise concluding 
                any agreement to fly that space flight 
                participant, that the United States Government 
                has not certified the launch vehicle as safe 
                for carrying crew or space flight participants;
                  (C) in accordance with regulations 
                promulgated by the Secretary, the space flight 
                participant has provided written informed 
                consent to participate in the launch and 
                reentry and written certification of compliance 
                with any regulations promulgated under 
                paragraph (6)(A); and
                  (D) the holder of the license or permit has 
                complied with any regulations promulgated by 
                the Secretary pursuant to paragraph (6).
          (6)(A) The Secretary may issue regulations requiring 
        space flight participants to undergo an appropriate 
        physical examination prior to a launch or reentry under 
        this chapter. This subparagraph shall cease to be in 
        effect three years after the date of enactment of the 
        Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004.
                  (B) The Secretary may issue additional 
                regulations setting reasonable requirements for 
                space flight participants, including medical 
                and training requirements. Such regulations 
                shall not be effective before the expiration of 
                3 years after the date of enactment of the 
                Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004.
  (c) Safety Regulations.--(1) The Secretary may issue 
regulations governing the design or operation of a launch 
vehicle to protect the health and safety of crew, government 
astronauts, and space flight participants.
          (2) Regulations issued under this subsection shall--
                  (A) describe how such regulations would be 
                applied when the Secretary is determining 
                whether to issue a license under this chapter;
                  (B) apply only to launches in which a vehicle 
                will be carrying a human being for compensation 
                or hire;
                  (C) be limited to restricting or prohibiting 
                design features or operating practices that--
                          (i) have resulted in a serious or 
                        fatal injury (as defined in 49 CFR 830, 
                        as in effect on November 10, 2004) [to 
                        crew or space flight participants] to 
                        crew, government astronauts, or space 
                        flight participants during a licensed 
                        or permitted commercial human space 
                        flight; or
                          (ii) contributed to an unplanned 
                        event or series of events during a 
                        licensed or permitted commercial human 
                        space flight that posed a high risk of 
                        causing a serious or fatal injury (as 
                        defined in 49 CFR 830, as in effect on 
                        November 10, 2004) [to crew or space 
                        flight participants] to crew, 
                        government astronauts, or space flight 
                        participants; and
                  (D) be issued with a description of the 
                instance or instances when the design feature 
                or operating practice being restricted or 
                prohibited contributed to a result or event 
                described in subparagraph (C).
          [(3) Beginning on October 1, 2015, the Secretary may 
        propose regulations under this subsection without 
        regard to paragraph (2)(C) and (D). Any such 
        regulations shall take into consideration the evolving 
        standards of safety in the commercial space flight 
        industry.]
          (3) Interim industry voluntary consensus standards 
        report.--The Secretary, in consultation with the 
        Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee, or 
        its successor organization, shall provide a report to 
        the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the 
        House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, 
        Science, and Transportation of the Senate on the 
        progress of the commercial space transportation 
        industry in developing voluntary consensus standards or 
        any other construction that promotes best practices to 
        improve the industry. Such report shall include, at a 
        minimum--
                  (A) any voluntary industry consensus 
                standards or any other construction that have 
                been accepted by the industry at large;
                  (B) the identification of areas that have the 
                potential to become voluntary industry 
                consensus standards or another potential 
                construction that are currently under 
                consideration by the industry at large;
                  (C) an assessment from the Secretary on the 
                general progress of the industry in adopting 
                voluntary consensus standards or any other 
                construction;
                  (D) lessons learned about voluntary industry 
                consensus standards or any other construction, 
                best practices, and commercial space launch 
                operations;
                  (E) any lessons learned associated with the 
                development, potential application, and 
                acceptance of voluntary industry consensus 
                standards or any other construction, best 
                practices, and commercial space launch 
                operations; and
                  (F) recommendations, findings, or 
                observations from the Commercial Space 
                Transportation Advisory Committee, or its 
                successor organization, on the progress of the 
                industry in developing industry consensus 
                standards or any other construction.
        This report, with the appropriate updates in the 
        intervening periods, shall be transmitted to such 
        committees no later than December 31, 2016, December 
        31, 2018, December 31, 2020, and December 31, 2022. 
        Each report shall describe and assess the progress 
        achieved as of 6 months prior to the specified 
        transmittal date.
          (4) Interim report on knowledge and operational 
        experience.--The Secretary shall provide a report to 
        the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the 
        House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, 
        Science, and Transportation of the of the Senate on the 
        status of the knowledge and operational experience 
        acquired by the industry while providing flight 
        services for compensation or hire to support the 
        development of a safety framework. Interim reports 
        shall by transmitted to such committees no later than 
        December 31, 2018, December 31, 2020, and December 31, 
        2022. Each report shall describe and assess the 
        progress achieved as of 6 months prior to the specified 
        transmittal date.
          (5) Independent review.--No later than December 31, 
        2023, an independent, private systems engineering and 
        technical assistance organization or standards 
        development organization contracted by the Secretary 
        shall provide to the Committee on Science, Space, and 
        Technology of the House of Representatives and the 
        Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of 
        the Senate an assessment of the readiness of the 
        commercial space industry and the Federal Government to 
        transition to a safety framework that may include 
        regulations. As part of the review, the contracted 
        organization shall evaluate--
                  (A) the progress of the commercial space 
                industry in adopting industry voluntary 
                standards or any other construction as reported 
                by the Secretary in the interim assessments 
                included in reports provided under paragraph 
                (4); and
                  (B) the knowledge and operational experience 
                obtained by the commercial space industry while 
                providing services for compensation or hire as 
                reported by the Secretary in the interim 
                knowledge and operational reports provided 
                under paragraph (4).
          (6) Learning period.--Beginning on December 31, 2025, 
        the Secretary may propose regulations under this 
        subsection without regard to paragraph (2)(C) and (D). 
        The development of any such regulations shall take into 
        consideration the evolving standards of the commercial 
        space flight industry as identified through the reports 
        published under paragraphs (3) and (4).
          (7) Communication and transparency.--Nothing in this 
        subsection shall be construed to limit the authority of 
        the Secretary of Transportation to discuss potential 
        approaches, potential performance standards, or any 
        other topic related to this subsection with the 
        commercial space industry including observations, 
        findings, and recommendations from the Commercial Space 
        Transportation Advisory Committee, or its successor 
        organization, prior to the issuance of a notice of 
        proposed rulemaking. Such discussions shall not be 
        construed to permit the Secretary to promulgate 
        industry regulations except as otherwise provided in 
        this section.
          [(4)] (8) Nothing in this subsection shall be 
        construed to limit the authority of the Secretary to 
        issue requirements or regulations to protect the public 
        health and safety, safety of property, national 
        security interests, and foreign policy interests of the 
        United States.
  (d) Procedures and Timetables.--The Secretary shall establish 
procedures and timetables that expedite review of a license or 
permit application and reduce the regulatory burden for an 
applicant.

Sec. 50906. Experimental permits

  (a) A person may apply to the Secretary of Transportation for 
an experimental permit under this section in the form and 
manner the Secretary prescribes. Consistent with the protection 
of the public health and safety, safety of property, and 
national security and foreign policy interests of the United 
States, the Secretary, not later than 120 days after receiving 
an application pursuant to this section, shall issue a permit 
if the Secretary decides in writing that the applicant 
complies, and will continue to comply, with this chapter and 
regulations prescribed under this chapter. The Secretary shall 
inform the applicant of any pending issue and action required 
to resolve the issue if the Secretary has not made a decision 
not later than 90 days after receiving an application. The 
Secretary shall transmit to the Committee on Science of the 
House of Representatives and Committee on Commerce, Science, 
and Transportation of the Senate a written notice not later 
than 15 days after any occurrence when the Secretary has failed 
to act on a permit within the deadline established by this 
section.
  (b) In carrying out subsection (a), the Secretary may 
establish procedures for safety approvals of launch vehicles, 
reentry vehicles, safety systems, processes, services, or 
personnel that may be used in conducting commercial space 
launch or reentry activities pursuant to a permit.
  (c) In order to encourage the development of a commercial 
space flight industry, the Secretary may when issuing permits 
use the authority granted under section 50905(b)(2)(C).
  (d) The Secretary may issue a permit only for reusable 
suborbital rockets that will be [launched or reentered] 
launched or reentered under that permit solely for--
          [(1) research and development to test new design 
        concepts, new equipment, or new operating techniques;]
          (1) research and development to test design concepts, 
        equipment, or operating techniques;
          (2) showing compliance with requirements as part of 
        the process for obtaining a license under this chapter; 
        or
          (3) crew training [prior to obtaining a license] for 
        a launch or reentry using the design of the rocket for 
        which the permit would be issued.
  (e) Permits issued under this section shall--
          (1) authorize an unlimited number of launches and 
        reentries for a particular [suborbital rocket design] 
        suborbital rocket or rocket design for the uses 
        described in subsection (d); and
          (2) specify the type of modifications that may be 
        made to the suborbital rocket without changing the 
        design to an extent that would invalidate the permit.
  (f) Permits shall not be transferable.
  [(g) A permit may not be issued for, and a permit that has 
already been issued shall cease to be valid for, a particular 
design for a reusable suborbital rocket after a license has 
been issued for the launch or reentry of a rocket of that 
design.]
  (g) The Secretary may issue a permit under this section 
notwithstanding any license issued under this chapter. The 
issuance of a license under this chapter shall not invalidate a 
permit under this section.
  (h) No person may operate a reusable suborbital rocket under 
a permit for carrying any property or human being for 
compensation or hire.
  (i) For the purposes of sections 50907, 50908, 50909, 50910, 
50912, 50914, 50917, 50918, 50919, and 50923 of this chapter--
          (1) a permit shall be considered a license;
          (2) the holder of a permit shall be considered a 
        licensee;
          (3) a vehicle operating under a permit shall be 
        considered to be licensed; and
          (4) the issuance of a permit shall be considered 
        licensing.
This subsection shall not be construed to allow the transfer of 
a permit.

Sec. 50907. Monitoring activities

  (a) General Requirements.--A licensee under this chapter must 
allow the Secretary of Transportation to place an officer or 
employee of the United States Government or another individual 
as an observer at a launch site or reentry site the licensee 
uses, at a production facility or assembly site a contractor of 
the licensee uses to produce or assemble a launch vehicle or 
reentry vehicle, at a site used for [crew or space flight 
participant training] crew, government astronaut, or space 
flight participant training, or at a site at which a payload is 
integrated with a launch vehicle or reentry vehicle. The 
observer will monitor the activity of the licensee or 
contractor at the time and to the extent the Secretary 
considers reasonable to ensure compliance with the license or 
to carry out the duties of the Secretary under sections 
50904(c), 50905, and 50906 of this title. A licensee must 
cooperate with an observer carrying out this subsection.
  (b) Contracts.--To the extent provided in advance in an 
appropriation law, the Secretary may make a contract with a 
person to carry out subsection (a) of this section.

Sec. 50908. Effective periods, and modifications, suspensions, and 
                    revocations, of licenses

  (a) Effective Periods of Licenses.--The Secretary of 
Transportation shall specify the period for which a license 
issued or transferred under this chapter is in effect.
  (b) Modifications.--(1) On the initiative of the Secretary or 
on application of the licensee, the Secretary may modify a 
license issued or transferred under this chapter if the 
Secretary decides the modification will comply with this 
chapter.
          (2) The Secretary shall modify a license issued or 
        transferred under this chapter whenever a modification 
        is needed for the license to be in conformity with a 
        regulation that was issued pursuant to section 50905(c) 
        after the issuance of the license. This paragraph shall 
        not apply to permits.
  (c) Suspensions and Revocations.--The Secretary may suspend 
or revoke a license if the Secretary decides that--
          (1) the licensee has not complied substantially with 
        a requirement of this chapter or a regulation 
        prescribed under this chapter; or
          (2) the suspension or revocation is necessary to 
        protect the public health and safety, the safety of 
        property, or a national security or foreign policy 
        interest of the United States.
  (d) Additional Suspensions.--(1) The Secretary may suspend a 
license when a previous launch or reentry under the license has 
resulted in a serious or fatal injury (as defined in 49 CFR 
830, as in effect on November 10, 2004) [to crew or space 
flight participants] to crew, government astronauts, or space 
flight participants and the Secretary has determined that 
continued operations under the license are likely to cause 
additional serious or fatal injury (as defined in 49 CFR 830, 
as in effect on November 10, 2004) [to crew or space flight 
participants] to crew, government astronauts, or space flight 
participants.
          (2) Any suspension imposed under this subsection 
        shall be for as brief a period as possible and, in any 
        event, shall cease when the Secretary--
                  (A) has determined that the licensee has 
                taken sufficient steps to reduce the likelihood 
                of a recurrence of the serious or fatal injury; 
                or
                  (B) has modified the license pursuant to 
                subsection (b) to sufficiently reduce the 
                likelihood of a recurrence of the serious or 
                fatal injury.
          (3) This subsection shall not apply to permits.
  (e) Effective Periods of Modifications, Suspensions, and 
Revocations.--Unless the Secretary specifies otherwise, a 
modification, suspension, or revocation under this section 
takes effect immediately and remains in effect during a review 
under section 50912 of this title.
  (f) Notification.--The Secretary shall notify the licensee in 
writing of the decision of the Secretary under this section and 
any action the Secretary takes or proposes to take based on the 
decision.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 50914. Liability insurance and financial responsibility 
                    requirements

  (a) General Requirements.--(1) When a launch or reentry 
license is issued or transferred under this chapter, the 
licensee or transferee shall obtain liability insurance or 
demonstrate financial responsibility in amounts to compensate 
for the maximum probable loss from claims by--
                  (A) a third party for death, bodily injury, 
                or property damage or loss resulting from an 
                activity carried out under the license; and
                  (B) the United States Government against a 
                person for damage or loss to Government 
                property resulting from an activity carried out 
                under the license.
          (2) The Secretary of Transportation shall determine 
        the amounts required under paragraph (1)(A) and (B) of 
        this subsection, after consulting with the 
        Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space 
        Administration, the Secretary of the Air Force, and the 
        heads of other appropriate executive agencies.
          (3) For the total claims related to one launch or 
        reentry, a licensee or transferee is not required to 
        obtain insurance or demonstrate financial 
        responsibility of more than--
                  (A)(i) $500,000,000 under paragraph (1)(A) of 
                this subsection; or
                          (ii) $100,000,000 under paragraph 
                        (1)(B) of this subsection; or
                  (B) the maximum liability insurance available 
                on the world market at reasonable cost if the 
                amount is less than the applicable amount in 
                clause (A)(i) or (ii) of this paragraph.
          (4) An insurance policy or demonstration of financial 
        responsibility under this subsection shall protect the 
        following, to the extent of their potential liability 
        for involvement in launch services or reentry services, 
        at no cost to the Government:
                  (A) the Government.
                  (B) executive agencies and personnel, 
                contractors, and subcontractors of the 
                Government.
                  (C) contractors, subcontractors, and 
                customers of the licensee or transferee.
                  (D) contractors and subcontractors of the 
                customer.
                  (E) space flight participants.
  (b) Reciprocal Waiver of Claims.--[(1) A launch or reentry 
license issued or transferred under this chapter shall contain 
a provision requiring the licensee or transferee to make a 
reciprocal waiver of claims with its contractors, 
subcontractors, and customers, and contractors and 
subcontractors of the customers, involved in launch services or 
reentry services under which each party to the waiver agrees to 
be responsible for property damage or loss it sustains, or for 
personal injury to, death of, or property damage or loss 
sustained by its own employees resulting from an activity 
carried out under the applicable license.] (1) A launch or 
reentry license issued or transferred under this chapter shall 
contain a provision requiring the licensee or transferee to 
make a reciprocal waiver of claims with its contractors, 
subcontractors, and customers, the contractors and 
subcontractors of the customers, and any space flight 
participants, involved in launch services or reentry services 
or participating in a flight under which each party to the 
waiver agrees to be responsible for property damage or loss it 
or they sustain, or for personal injury to, death of, or 
property damage or loss sustained by its own employees 
resulting from an activity carried out under the applicable 
license.
          (2) The Secretary of Transportation shall make, for 
        the Government, executive agencies of the Government 
        involved in launch services or reentry services, and 
        contractors and subcontractors involved in launch 
        services or reentry services, a reciprocal waiver of 
        claims with the licensee or transferee, contractors, 
        subcontractors, crew, space flight participants, and 
        customers of the licensee or transferee, and 
        contractors and subcontractors of the customers, 
        involved in launch services or reentry services under 
        which each party to the waiver agrees to be responsible 
        for property damage or loss it sustains, or for 
        personal injury to, death of, or property damage or 
        loss sustained by its own employees or by space flight 
        participants, resulting from an activity carried out 
        under the applicable license. The waiver applies only 
        to the extent that claims are more than the amount of 
        insurance or demonstration of financial responsibility 
        required under subsection (a)(1)(B) of this section. 
        After consulting with the Administrator and the 
        Secretary of the Air Force, the Secretary of 
        Transportation may waive, for the Government and a 
        department, agency, and instrumentality of the 
        Government, the right to recover damages for damage or 
        loss to Government property to the extent insurance is 
        not available because of a policy exclusion the 
        Secretary of Transportation decides is usual for the 
        type of insurance involved.
  (c) Determination of Maximum Probable Losses.--The Secretary 
of Transportation shall determine the maximum probable losses 
under subsection (a)(1)(A) and (B) of this section associated 
with an activity under a license not later than 90 days after a 
licensee or transferee requires a determination and submits all 
information the Secretary requires. The Secretary shall amend 
the determination as warranted by new information.
  (d) Annual Report.--(1) Not later than November 15 of each 
year, the Secretary of Transportation shall submit to the 
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the 
Senate and the Committee on Science of the House of 
Representatives a report on current determinations made under 
subsection (c) of this section related to all issued licenses 
and the reasons for the determinations.
          (2) Not later than May 15 of each year, the Secretary 
        of Transportation shall review the amounts specified in 
        subsection (a)(3)(A) of this section and submit a 
        report to Congress that contains proposed adjustments 
        in the amounts to conform with changed liability 
        expectations and availability of insurance on the world 
        market. The proposed adjustment takes effect 30 days 
        after a report is submitted.
  (e) Launches or Reentries Involving Government Facilities and 
Personnel.--The Secretary of Transportation shall establish 
requirements consistent with this chapter for proof of 
financial responsibility and other assurances necessary to 
protect the Government and its executive agencies and personnel 
from liability, death, bodily injury, or property damage or 
loss as a result of a launch or operation of a launch site or 
reentry site or a reentry involving a facility or personnel of 
the Government. The Secretary may not relieve the Government of 
liability under this subsection for death, bodily injury, or 
property damage or loss resulting from the willful misconduct 
of the Government or its agents.
  (f) Collection and Crediting Payments.--The head of a 
department, agency, or instrumentality of the Government shall 
collect a payment owed for damage or loss to Government 
property under its jurisdiction or control resulting from an 
activity carried out under a launch or reentry license issued 
or transferred under this chapter. The payment shall be 
credited to the current applicable appropriation, fund, or 
account of the department, agency, or instrumentality.
  (g) Federal Jurisdiction.--Any action or tort arising from a 
licensed launch or reentry shall be the sole jurisdiction of 
the Federal courts and shall be decided under Federal law.

Sec. 50915. Paying claims exceeding liability insurance and financial 
                    responsibility requirements

  (a) General Requirements.--(1) To the extent provided in 
advance in an appropriation law or to the extent additional 
legislative authority is enacted providing for paying claims in 
a compensation plan submitted under subsection (d) of this 
section, the Secretary of Transportation shall provide for the 
payment by the United States Government of a successful claim 
(including reasonable litigation or settlement expenses) of a 
third party against a licensee or transferee under this 
chapter, a contractor, subcontractor, or customer of the 
licensee or transferee, [or a contractor] a contractor or 
subcontractor of a customer, [but not against] or a space 
flight participant, resulting from an activity carried out 
under the license issued or transferred under this chapter for 
death, bodily injury, or property damage or loss resulting from 
an activity carried out under the license. However, claims may 
be paid under this section only to the extent the total amount 
of successful claims related to one launch or reentry--
                  (A) is more than the amount of insurance or 
                demonstration of financial responsibility 
                required under section 50914(a)(1)(A) of this 
                title; and
                  (B) is not more than $1,500,000,000 (plus 
                additional amounts necessary to reflect 
                inflation occurring after January 1, 1989) 
                above that insurance or financial 
                responsibility amount.
          (2) The Secretary may not provide for paying a part 
        of a claim for which death, bodily injury, or property 
        damage or loss results from willful misconduct by the 
        licensee or transferee. To the extent insurance 
        required under section 50914(a)(1)(A) of this title is 
        not available to cover a successful third party 
        liability claim because of an insurance policy 
        exclusion the Secretary decides is usual for the type 
        of insurance involved, the Secretary may provide for 
        paying the excluded claims without regard to the 
        limitation contained in section 50914(a)(1).
  (b) Notice, Participation, and Approval.--Before a payment 
under subsection (a) of this section is made--
          (1) notice must be given to the Government of a 
        claim, or a civil action related to the claim, against 
        a party described in subsection (a)(1) of this section 
        for death, bodily injury, or property damage or loss;
          (2) the Government must be given an opportunity to 
        participate or assist in the defense of the claim or 
        action; and
          (3) the Secretary must approve any part of a 
        settlement to be paid out of appropriations of the 
        Government.
  (c) Withholding Payments.--The Secretary may withhold a 
payment under subsection (a) of this section if the Secretary 
certifies that the amount is not reasonable. However, the 
Secretary shall deem to be reasonable the amount of a claim 
finally decided by a court of competent jurisdiction.
  (d) Surveys, Reports, and Compensation Plans.--(1) If as a 
result of an activity carried out under a license issued or 
transferred under this chapter the total of claims related to 
one launch or reentry is likely to be more than the amount of 
required insurance or demonstration of financial 
responsibility, the Secretary shall--
                  (A) survey the causes and extent of damage; 
                and
                  (B) submit expeditiously to Congress a report 
                on the results of the survey.
          (2) Not later than 90 days after a court 
        determination indicates that the liability for the 
        total of claims related to one launch or reentry may be 
        more than the required amount of insurance or 
        demonstration of financial responsibility, the 
        President, on the recommendation of the Secretary, 
        shall submit to Congress a compensation plan that--
                  (A) outlines the total dollar value of the 
                claims;
                  (B) recommends sources of amounts to pay for 
                the claims;
                  (C) includes legislative language required to 
                carry out the plan if additional legislative 
                authority is required; and
                  (D) for a single event or incident, may not 
                be for more than $1,500,000,000.
          (3) A compensation plan submitted to Congress under 
        paragraph (2) of this subsection shall--
                  (A) have an identification number; and
                  (B) be submitted to the Senate and the House 
                of Representatives on the same day and when the 
                Senate and House are in session.
  (e) Congressional Resolutions.--(1) In this subsection, 
``resolution''--
                  (A) means a joint resolution of Congress the 
                matter after the resolving clause of which is 
                as follows: ``That the Congress approves the 
                compensation plan numbered _____ submitted to 
                the Congress on _____ __, 20__.'', with the 
                blank spaces being filled appropriately; but
                  (B) does not include a resolution that 
                includes more than one compensation plan.
          (2) The Senate shall consider under this subsection a 
        compensation plan requiring additional appropriations 
        or legislative authority not later than 60 calendar 
        days of continuous session of Congress after the date 
        on which the plan is submitted to Congress.
          (3) A resolution introduced in the Senate shall be 
        referred immediately to a committee by the President of 
        the Senate. All resolutions related to the same plan 
        shall be referred to the same committee.
          (4)(A) If the committee of the Senate to which a 
        resolution has been referred does not report the 
        resolution within 20 calendar days after it is 
        referred, a motion is in order to discharge the 
        committee from further consideration of the resolution 
        or to discharge the committee from further 
        consideration of the plan.
                  (B) A motion to discharge may be made only by 
                an individual favoring the resolution and is 
                highly privileged (except that the motion may 
                not be made after the committee has reported a 
                resolution on the plan). Debate on the motion 
                is limited to one hour, to be divided equally 
                between those favoring and those opposing the 
                resolution. An amendment to the motion is not 
                in order. A motion to reconsider the vote by 
                which the motion is agreed to or disagreed to 
                is not in order.
                  (C) If the motion to discharge is agreed to 
                or disagreed to, the motion may not be renewed 
                and another motion to discharge the committee 
                from another resolution on the same plan may 
                not be made.
          (5)(A) After a committee of the Senate reports, or is 
        discharged from further consideration of, a resolution, 
        a motion to proceed to the consideration of the 
        resolution is in order at any time, even though a 
        similar previous motion has been disagreed to. The 
        motion is highly privileged and is not debatable. An 
        amendment to the motion is not in order. A motion to 
        reconsider the vote by which the motion is agreed to or 
        disagreed to is not in order.
                  (B) Debate on the resolution referred to in 
                subparagraph (A) of this paragraph is limited 
                to not more than 10 hours, to be divided 
                equally between those favoring and those 
                opposing the resolution. A motion further to 
                limit debate is not debatable. An amendment to, 
                or motion to recommit, the resolution is not in 
                order. A motion to reconsider the vote by which 
                the resolution is agreed to or disagreed to is 
                not in order.
          (6) The following shall be decided in the Senate 
        without debate:
                  (A) a motion to postpone related to the 
                discharge from committee.
                  (B) a motion to postpone consideration of a 
                resolution.
                  (C) a motion to proceed to the consideration 
                of other business.
                  (D) an appeal from a decision of the chair 
                related to the application of the rules of the 
                Senate to the procedures related to a 
                resolution.
  (f) Application.--This section applies to a license issued or 
transferred under this chapter for which the Secretary receives 
a complete and valid application not later than December 31, 
[2016] 2025. This section does not apply to permits.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Subtitle VII--ACCESS TO SPACE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                              CHAPTER 701

Sec.
70101. Recovery of fair value of placing Department of Defense payloads 
          in orbit with [space shuttle] Space Launch System.
70102. [Space shuttle] Space Launch System use policy.
70103. Commercial payloads on [space shuttle] Space Launch System.

Sec. 70101. Recovery of fair value of placing Department of Defense 
                    payloads in orbit with [space shuttle]  Space 
                    Launch System

  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, or any 
interagency agreement, the Administrator shall charge such 
prices as are necessary to recover the fair value of placing 
Department of Defense payloads into orbit by means of the 
[space shuttle] Space Launch System.

Sec. 70102. [Space shuttle]  Space Launch System use policy

  (a) Use Policy.--
          (1) In general.--
                  (A) Policy.--It shall be the policy of the 
                United States to use the [space shuttle] Space 
                Launch System--
                          (i) for purposes that require a human 
                        presence directly to cis-lunar space 
                        and the regions of space beyond low-
                        Earth orbit;
                          (ii) for purposes that require the 
                        unique capabilities of the [space 
                        shuttle] Space Launch System; or
                          (iii) when other compelling 
                        circumstances exist.
                  (B) Definition of compelling circumstances.--
                In this paragraph, the term ``compelling 
                circumstances'' includes, but is not limited 
                to, occasions when the Administrator 
                determines, in consultation with the Secretary 
                of Defense and the Secretary of State, that 
                important national security or foreign policy 
                interests would be served by [a shuttle launch] 
                a launch of the Space Launch System.
          (2) Using available cargo space for secondary 
        payloads.--The policy stated in paragraph (1) shall not 
        preclude the use of available cargo space, on [a space 
        shuttle mission] a mission of the Space Launch System 
        otherwise consistent with the policy described in 
        paragraph (1), for the purpose of carrying secondary 
        payloads (as defined by the Administrator) that do not 
        require a human presence if such payloads are 
        consistent with the requirements of research, 
        development, demonstration, scientific, commercial, and 
        educational programs authorized by the Administrator.
  (b) Annual Report.--At least annually, the Administrator 
shall submit to Congress a report certifying that the payloads 
scheduled to be launched on the [space shuttle] Space Launch 
System for the next 4 years are consistent with the policy set 
forth in subsection (a)(1). For each payload scheduled to be 
launched from the [space shuttle] Space Launch System that does 
not require a human presence, the Administrator shall, in the 
certified report to Congress, state the specific circumstances 
that justified the use of the [space shuttle] Space Launch 
System. If, during the period between scheduled reports to 
Congress, any additions are made to the list of certified 
payloads intended to be launched [from the shuttle] from the 
Space Launch System, the Administrator shall inform Congress of 
the additions and the reasons therefor within 45 days of the 
change.
  (c) Administration Payloads.--The report described in 
subsection (b) shall also include those Administration payloads 
designed solely to fly on the [space shuttle] Space Launch 
System which have begun the phase C/D of its development cycle.
  (d) Definition.--In this section, the term ``Space Launch 
System'' means the Space Launch System authorized under section 
302 of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration 
Authorization Act of 2010.

Sec. 70103. Commercial payloads on [space shuttle]  Space Launch System

  (a) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) Launch vehicle.--The term ``launch vehicle'' 
        means any vehicle constructed for the purpose of 
        operating in, or placing a payload in, outer space.
          (2) Payload.--The term ``payload'' means an object 
        which a person undertakes to place in outer space by 
        means of a launch vehicle, and includes subcomponents 
        of the launch vehicle specifically designed or adapted 
        for that object.
  (b) In General.--Commercial payloads may not be accepted for 
launch as primary payloads on the [space shuttle] Space Launch 
System unless the Administrator determines that--
          (1) the payload requires the unique capabilities of 
        the [space shuttle] Space Launch System; or
          (2) launching of the payload on the [space shuttle] 
        Space Launch System is important for either national 
        security or foreign policy purposes.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                             MINORITY VIEWS

    H.R. 2262, as amended, ``Spurring Private Aerospace 
Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship Act of 2015,'' proposes to 
extend and amend key provisions of the Commercial Space Launch 
Amendments Act (CSLAA) of 2004 as included in USC Title 51. The 
two time sensitive provisions concern the moratorium on the 
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposing any safety 
regulations on commercial human space flight, which ends on 
September 30, 2015 and the extension of commercial space launch 
indemnification, which ends on December 31, 2016.
    The Committee has held no hearings during the 114th 
Congress on commercial space transportation, or the broader 
area of commercial space, or on the legislation that was being 
marked up. The members of the Minority are strong supporters of 
the commercial space launch industry, but consider holding 
hearings and subcommittee markups and important part of the 
process. The bill as amended is unbalanced, giving strong 
preference to the priorities of the commercial space launch 
industry in matters related to the safety of the general public 
and the safety of the future customers of this industry.
Sec. 2. Consensus standards
    There currently is a prohibition against FAA issuing 
regulations to protect the safety of the crew and spaceflight 
participants [passengers] on a commercially licensed suborbital 
or orbital human spaceflight system. That moratorium, which was 
put in place in 2004, was supposed to expire in 2012. It was 
extended for an additional three years and is now set to expire 
on September 30, 2015. H.R. 2262, as amended, extends the 
moratorium for an additional 10 years, until 2025, further 
delaying any regulations to protect the safety of the people 
who will fly on commercial human spaceflight systems. While it 
is argued by some that the commercial human spaceflight 
industry is a fledgling industry that needs room to grow 
without regulatory burdens, there have been significant 
advances made in the development of commercial human 
spaceflight systems since 2004. In addition, the head of the 
FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) has 
testified that 50 years of U.S. human spaceflight provides 
ample experience on which to base safety regulations and that 
continuing a no-regulation learning period for another decade 
would unnecessarily delay detailed discussions between industry 
and FAA that could form the basis of either safety regulations 
or voluntary consensus standards.
    A Democratic amendment was offered to extend the learning 
period for 5 years--a length consistent with the amount of time 
specified in the bipartisan Senate bill that was recently 
introduced--half the time period included in H.R. 2262, as 
amended.
Sec. 3. International launch competitiveness
    The provisions for the commercial space launch 
indemnification regime have been extended numerous times since 
they were first passed in 1988. Most recently, on January 16, 
2014, Congress passed the ``Consolidated Appropriations Act, 
2014'' and as part of it, extended the third party liability 
and indemnification provisions for an additional three years 
[to December 31, 2016]. It was the 8th extension of these 
provisions. H.R. 2262, as amended, would provide another 
extension, this time until December 31, 2025.
    The industry has come a long way in the quarter of a 
century since indemnification was first enacted. A Democratic 
amendment to H.R. 2262, sought to extend the indemnification 
for 4 years, until 2020, to allow for review of a plan to 
update the Maximum Probable Loss calculation and an independent 
review of the plan before any longer term extension. Four years 
is a sensible, pragmatic approach that provides for a report 
and a review as well as appropriate Congressional oversight, 
following the results of the plan and review. The bipartisan 
Senate bill also seeks a 4-year extension.
Sec. 4. Launch license flexibility
    This section has been overtaken by events. The provision 
was first sought by a single launch company, Virgin Galactic. 
However, following the Spaceship Two accident in 2014, which 
resulted in the death of a pilot, Virgin Galactic made the 
decision to take on all of the testing responsibilities that it 
had originally contracted to Scaled Composites. Virgin would 
continue development and testing of its vehicles within the 
Virgin Galactic company. This decision eliminated the problem 
that prompted the proposed language included in this Section.
    Officials from the FAA's Office of Commercial Space 
Transportation told Democratic staff that a commercial launch 
license enables a launch provider to carry out testing and 
improvements to a vehicle, providing that the licensee has 
specified such activities in obtaining the license. Once Virgin 
Galactic obtains a license, it can continue to carry out 
testing and make safety improvements to a vehicle, providing 
those activities are included as part of its license. There is 
thus no compelling need for this Section. The expectation that 
companies other than Virgin Galactic may need such flexibility 
does not have merit. No other companies have come forth seeking 
this language be enacted into law.
Sec. 5. Government astronauts
    The inclusion of this clause has potential consequences 
beyond this bill as the term ``Astronaut'' has never been 
clearly defined in a statute up to this point, and thus the 
final language selected may have far reaching implications. The 
Majority's addition of ``Government Astronaut'' as a new 
category is in response to a request by the National 
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for this addition 
to existing statutes. NASA has explained that neither of the 
two current definitions in the CSLA, ``Space Flight 
Participants'' and ``Crew,'' effectively covered NASA 
astronauts. This is because, at the time the CSLA was drafted, 
no one envisioned a future where NASA would fly astronauts 
using commercial crew transportation services.
    However, both NASA's and the Majority's proposed 
definitions leave out some cases that are important to address. 
For example, both proposals define a ``Government Astronaut'' 
as either a U.S. government employee or as the employee of a 
foreign government. However, both proposals limit a foreign 
astronaut to only those foreign astronauts who come from 
signatories to the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) relating 
to operations on the International Space Station (ISS). 
Commercial space operations are likely to have missions other 
than directly related to the ISS, and as such, the definition 
of foreign astronauts should not be limited by that agreement. 
In addition, neither NASA's language nor the Majority's takes 
into account the fact that there might be U.S. government 
employees who have not been trained as astronauts but who will 
still need to fly on a commercial space vehicle as part of 
their employment activities, e.g., as government researchers. 
Both situations raise cross-waiver and indemnification issues.
Sec. 6. Indemnification for spaceflight participants
    This section proposes to include spaceflight participants 
in the third party liability risk-sharing regime established by 
Congress in the Commercial Space Launch Act Amendments of 1988. 
That regime insured that the government would indemnify any 
participants whose liability went above their insurance 
coverage. The proposal to include spaceflight participants in 
this regime is based on the notion that any accident involving 
third-party claims will result in claims being made on 
spaceflight participants who are not covered in the launch 
party's third-party insurance. The argument is also that 
spaceflight participants be put on the same playing field as 
contractors and subcontractors who are included in the 
indemnification regime. However, this policy change has not 
been examined at any Committee hearings, and thus there are a 
number of unresolved questions relative to this policy change. 
First, spaceflight participants were explicitly excluded from 
the liability regime in the 2004 updates to the Commercial 
Space Launch Act, because of the appearance of indemnifying 
wealthy individuals who would be seeking to become space 
tourists flying on commercial human spaceflight systems. In 
addition, the question of whether the U.S. Government should 
indemnify spaceflight participants for third-party claims 
should be considered in the context of other high-risk 
adventure activities such as skydiving. If an individual who 
understands the risks chooses to take a commercial space 
flight, and is able to purchase insurance coverage or have it 
provided by the launch provider, the American taxpayer should 
not be responsible for indemnifying that individual.
    The proposal to include spaceflight participnts in the 
third party liability regime deserves further study and 
investigation and is premature to include in this update of the 
CSLA.

Sec. 7. Federal jurisdiction

    This provision provides that any legal ``action or tort 
arising from a licensed launch shall be the sole jurisdiction 
of the federal courts and shall be decided under federal law.'' 
This provision removes all legal actions arising out of 
federally licensed launches from state courts to the federal 
courts. Second, the provision preempts the application of state 
law and requires that the actions be decided under federal law. 
This provision is unconscionable as there is no Federal civil 
tort law that would apply to commercial space launch providers. 
To quote from a letter by American Association for Justice 
dated May 12, 2015, to Chairman Smith and Ranking Member 
Johnson:

          ``AAJ recognizes the challenges of trying to give a 
        new industry the flexibility to grow and innovate 
        without unnecessary burdens. However, language included 
        in the bill will provide companies involved in 
        commercial space travel immunity for torts arising from 
        a licensed commercial space launch or reentry. More 
        specifically, Section 7 of the bill states: ``Any 
        action or tort arising from a licensed launch or 
        reentry shall be the sole jurisdiction of the Federal 
        courts and shall be decided under federal law.'' Since 
        there is no federal tort law applicable to private 
        companies, there is no remedy available to anyone 
        injured or any property damage incurred as a result of 
        a negligent launch or reentry. Essentially, Section 7 
        provides immunity for recklessness and intentional 
        misconduct. Notably, this immunity could stretch to 
        foreign companies involved in commercial space travel 
        at the expense of United States citizens, businesses 
        and government.
           * * *
          As the commercial space travel indutry grows, safety 
        should be put first and foremost. But, providing no 
        recourse for grossly negligent, reckless or even 
        intentional misconduct leading to personal injury or 
        death is irresponsible and wrong. Simply put, industry 
        interests should not be valued over the safety of the 
        American public. As written, the SPACE Act of 2015 
        gives reckless and bad actors complete immunity, while 
        innocent participants and bystanders are left without 
        recourse, regardless of the circumstance.''

    A Democratic amendment sought to address these concerns, by 
striking this section of the amended bill, but it was not 
adopted.

Sec. 8. Cross-waivers of liability

    The argument for including this provision is that since 
spaceflight participants know that spaceflight is risky and 
agree to sign informed consent, then they should also agree to 
waive claims against the launch provider and related parties to 
the launch. Furthermore, stakeholders assert that the informed 
consent does not relieve a launch provider from claims and thus 
cross-waivers are required to ensure they remain immune from 
suit. However, inclusion of this provision is another way in 
which this unbalanced bill is skewed against individuals. To 
quote from the American Association for Justice letter dated 
May 12, 2015, that was sent to Chairman Smith and Ranking 
Member Johnson:

          In addition to providing broad liability protections, 
        Section 8 of the SPACE Act of 2015 also requires 
        passengers on commercial spacecraft to waive any right 
        to damages for personal injury, property damage or 
        death resulting from commercial air travel. While it 
        may be acceptable for businesses with equal footing and 
        negotiating power to execute cross waivers limiting 
        their responsibility to each other, this waiver 
        language should not extend to passengers. This 
        provision is unfair and harmful to individuals.

Sec. 10. State commercial launch facilities

    States, municipalities, and commercial entities have and 
continue to participate in commercial space transportation, in 
particular, through ownership or investment in commercial 
spaceports and related launch facilities. Such commercial 
launch facilities can support the growth of the commercial 
space transportation industry and support U.S. Government 
launch activities.
    Some commercial launch facilities involve considerable 
State investment. However, there are liability and 
indemnification issues that warrant further attention before 
making policy in this area.

                                   Eddie Bernice Johnson.

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