11 March 1998
CONTACT: Karen Rugg, 202-543-1900
(Washington, DC) -- March 11, 1998 -- Representatives from the National Space Society (NSS) today delivered over 3,000 letters from space supporters around the country calling for passage of the Commercial Space Act of 1997 to Senator Bob Graham (D-FL). Senators Graham and Connie Mack (R-FL) introduced a Senate version of H.R. 1702 at the end of the last session, which is scheduled to go to mark-up tomorrow. Following their meeting with Senator Graham, the NSS hand-delivered packets of letters to each Senator who serves on the Committee and who will consider the legislation tomorrow.
"For more than a year, NSS activists have been following and supporting the progress of the Commercial Space Act through letters, phone calls, e-mail, briefings and congressional visits with members in the House and Senate," said Pat Dasch, NSS executive director. "This latest call on behalf of the Act includes letters from all 50 states, illustrating the public's 'bipartisan' support for the legislation. At this stage, we can't imagine any reason or concern worth stalling this bill."
Critical provisions of the Commercial Space Act include establishing a regulatory framework to license commercial launch vehicles for re-entry; i.e., allow companies to land the vehicles they launch. Other provisions include directing NASA to study commercial possibilities for the International Space Station, and requiring the federal government to procure commercial space transportation services.
The National Space Society, founded in 1974, is an independent, nonprofit space advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. Its 23,000 members and 90 chapters around the world actively promote a spacefaring civilization. Information on NSS and space exploration is available at http://www.nss.org/.