Sinema Introduces Bill Outlining Safety Standards for Commercial Space Travel

Sinema Introduces Bill Outlining Safety Standards for Commercial Space Travel

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
March 26, 2024

With space travel no longer the exclusive domain of state-funded endeavors, private institutions seek to innovate. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) recently introduced a bipartisan bill with Senator Eric Schmitt (R-MO) encouraging this innovation while ensuring the safety of non-crew occupants and commercial space passengers.

Named the Commercial Standards Paramount to Accelerating Cosmic Exploration (SPACE) Leadership Act, the bill would require the Federal Aviation Administration to introduce regulations for implementing and improving safety standards for human occupants of spacecraft.

Sen. Sinema and Sen. Schmitt were inspired to create the bill after hearings with commercial space industry leaders and government officials regularly spoke of the "learning period" for safety regulations in outer space.

Does Texas have a constitutional right to defy Supreme Court on protecting its border?

Space News defined the "learning period" in February as the timeframe in which the commercial space industry builds the necessary experience to help the federal government design safety standards, which were initially set to expire on March 8th. However, the learning period has been extended since through stopgap bills.

As a result, Sen. Sinema's bill would extend the learning period to five years with a sunset provision. During that period, companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin would be required to develop voluntary consensus standards, which in turn would help a rulemaking committee help the Federal Aviation Administration set finalized standards.

Finally, if any of the FAA's final standards deviate from what the rulemaking committee recommended, the FAA must explain why.

"Our bipartisan legislation enhances commercial space travel by increasing safety and ensuring America’s continued leadership in space innovation and exploration," said Rep. Sinema in her press release.

Sen. Schmitt added, "Greatness is achieved through good faith and collaboration, which is exactly what the Commercial SPACE Leadership Act aims to accomplish. By allowing private companies the leeway to drive and provide input on future commercial human space flight regulations, we are facilitating a new era that maintains and improves our competitiveness in space. Continuing the ‘light touch’ approach provided by the learning period and creating new areas for industry to provide input is crucial to supporting the commercial space sector and our nation’s larger space endeavors. Simply put, this bill keeps regulations at bay for another five years, allowing industry and the government to continue to work towards an eventual framework."

Related Posts

Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

Subscribe to the newsletter everyone in Arizona is reading.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.