Commercial Spaceflight And The Dawning Age of NewSpace

House committee weighs small launch vehicle policy issues |

WASHINGTON — An April 19 House hearing about potential policy changes that could affect development of small launch vehicles did not result in any consensus on what action, if any, to take on issues that could affect the competitiveness of the industry.

The primary focus of the hearing by the House Science Committee’s space subcommittee was a proposal to allow the use of excess intercontinental ballistic missile motors for commercial launches, a change in a 20-year policy limiting their use that has generated strong opposition from many companies developing their own vehicles.

“Flooding the market with cheap government motors would certainly tilt the playing field for the commercial industry,” said Eric Stallmer, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF). He said most of his organization’s member companies, which include several developing their own small launch vehicles, oppose any change in policy.

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