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H.R. 5382: House Passes, Senate Delays

By Keith Cowing
November 21, 2004

21 November 2004: Editor’s note: The Senate did not take up H.R. 5382 before adjourning. There is one last chance for them to do so in December when they recovene. If this bill is not voted on during that session it will be dead and will need to be reintroduced in the next Congress. The reasons why H.R. 5382 did not go further in the Senate are unclear. While supporters sought to fast track the bill through the Senate others sought to stall it. It is not certain whether efforts to delay consideration of this bill this had to do with the content of the bill or if it was simply partisan politics.

20 November 2004: House Passes Commercial Space Bill, House Science Committee

“By a vote of 269 to 120, the House of Representatives today passed legislation that seeks to promote the nascent commercial human space flight industry while establishing a clear and balanced regulatory framework for space tourism.”

20 November 2004: Private spaceflight legislation moves on to Senate, MSNBC

“The roll-call vote on H.R. 5382, according to C-Span’s unofficial tally, was 269-120 with 44 not voting.”

19 November 2004: House Floor Debate on Commercial Space Launch Act of 2004

“Mr. ROHRABACHER. The bill we speak about, H.R. 5382, the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004, represents a long and thorough process and also a solid bipartisan effort to make commercial human space flight a reality. Earlier this year, H.R. 3752 passed this House by a vote of 402 to 1. Thus, there is nothing to any charge to suggest that there has been anything but pure, that this bill has been operating purely in the open and with open discussion and with the input from both sides of the aisle.”

19 November 2004: Private spaceflight legislation runs into resistance , MSNBC

“Legislation aimed at putting the regulation of suborbital space travel on firmer footing came up for a vote in the House today, but the initial effort didn’t go well for its backers.”

Editor’s note: New legislation entered as H.R. 5382, introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and cosponsored by Rep. Boehlert (R-NY) and Rep. Gordon (D-TN), contains compromise language.

19 November 2004: Dear Colleague Letter From Rep. Sherwood Boehlert Regarding H.R. 5382, the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act

“A few minutes ago you received a letter from congressman Oberstar about H.R. 5382 which will be before the house shortly. Mr. Oberstars objection to the bill is well intentioned but reflects fundamental misunderstandings about the bill. Here are some facts:”

17 November 2004: Senate Gives Final Passage to Bill Extending Protection for Satellite Launches – House Committee Kills Commercial Space Bill Deal

“The Senate last night passed, and sent to the President, a Science Committee bill (H.R. 5245) to extend the law under which the U.S. government insures companies that launch satellites for damages or deaths sustained by individuals who were not involved in the launch. The House had passed the bill in October by unanimous consent, and Senate approval was also by unanimous consent; the President is expected to sign it.”

15 November 2004: Last minute compromise language, House Science Committee (PDF)

17 November 2004: Private spaceflight legislation fizzles out, MSNBC

“An 11th-hour bid to pass legislation allowing paying passengers to take suborbital space trips has fallen short, congressional aides and lawmakers said Wednesday.”

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