When Congress passed a three-year extension of the third-party commercial launch indemnification regime earlier this month (the pending legislation was used as the “legislative vehicle” for the omnibus fiscal year 2014 spending), industry celebrated the move, but some wondered if the extension would take pressure off Congress to take a broader look at commercial launch law, including a reauthorization of the Commercial Space Launch Act. House Democrats had sought only a one-year extension in order to examine the indemnification regime and related issues.
A House committee, though, plans to at least start the process of examining what needs to be changed in commercial space transportation law. The House Science Committee’s space subcommittee will hold a hearing next Tuesday afternoon titled “Necessary Updates to the Commercial Space Launch Act.” George Nield, associate administration for commercial space transportation at the FAA, will testify, along with Alicia Cackley of the GAO and Henry Hertzfeld of George Washington University. Nield and Cackley testified before the same subcommittee in mid-2012 specifically on launch indemnification.
That hearing, incidentally, comes on the eve of the FAA’s annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference on February 5-6 in Washington. Among those scheduled to speak: Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS), chairman of the space subcommittee.