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All systems go for new spaceflight law

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Fri Jul 23, 2004 2:14 am
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chabot imageAn excellent article written by Alan Boyle; Compromise reached on suborbital regulations
Legislation that would make it easier for private space tourism to take flight is finally set to move forward after months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, key players told MSNBC.com Thursday.

The bill– known as the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004, or H.R. 3752– lays out the definition of a suborbital space passenger vehicle, solidifies the process for licensing such vehicles, and allows paying passengers to fly into space at their own risk.

The House of Representatives approved the measure by a 402-1 vote in March, but it languished in the Senate because of concerns that the House version might exclude some rocket-jet hybrid vehicles.

An Oklahoma-based company that is developing just such a vehicle, Rocketplane Ltd., was among those most concerned; as a result, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma had held back the legislation for revision. Inhofe’s office said Thursday that the revised bill was now ready for further action, most likely after the summer recess.

“It’s on a good track now,” Inhofe spokesman Ryan Thompson told MSNBC.com. “It’s headed in a good direction, and the senator’s pleased.”

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