Last month’s successful test flight by SpaceX to the International Space Station was a major milestone for commercial spaceflight, and also for public and political perceptions of the industry. The Senate Commerce Committee will reexamine the industry in a hearing Wednesday, June 20, titled “Risks, Opportunities, and Oversight of Commercial Space”. The hearing, according to the committee’s announcement, will examine the commercial space industry and review ISS commercial cargo and crew efforts. Scheduled witness include:
- Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations;
- Pam Melroy, a former NASA astronaut who now works at the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation;
- Gerald Dillingham of the Government Accountability Office;
- Mike Gold of Bigelow Aerospace; and
- Michael Lopez-Alegria, another former astronaut who is now president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
This likely won’t be the only hearing on commercial spaceflight this summer. Last week, in a statement praising the agreement between NASA and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), a key House appropriator, on the future of NASA’s commercial crew program, Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), chairman of the House Science Committee, said his committee would hold an oversight hearing on that program “later this summer”.