WASHINGTON, Sept 13 (Reuters) – A federal moratorium on commercial spaceflight safety regulations should be extended to support more innovation in the space sector, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz said on Wednesday, ahead of the scheduled expiration of a years-old ban on Oct. 1.
There are currently no regulations on the safety of privately built space vehicles. The fast-growing sector since 2004 has been shielded from federal safety regulations by what is widely called a “learning period.”
“Now is not the time to impose new regulations on commercial space,” Cruz said, speaking on the sidelines of an industry conference in Washington. “Allowing the learning period to expire would only serve to stifle innovation and undercut American innovation.”
The moratorium, established by the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004, was most recently extended in 2015.
The law requires private space companies that send humans into space to have passengers sign “informed consent” documents acknowledging the absence of federal safety regulations.
Cruz is a senator of Texas, which is home to Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket launch company, which operates a testing facility and development, manufacturing and launch site in Texas. SpaceX is among space companies catering to wealthy customers willing to pay large sums of money to experience the exhilaration of supersonic rocket speed, microgravity and the spectacle of the Earth’s curvature from space.
Reporting by Joey Roulette
Editing by Chris Reese and Leslie Adler
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