• Mr. Robert Bigelow, Founder, Bigelow Aerospace
• Mr. Rob Meyerson, President, Blue Origin
• Mr. George Whitesides, CEO, Galactic Ventures
• Mr. Andrew Rush, CEO, Made in Space
* Witness list subject to change
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness
This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.
Mr. George WhitesidesCEOGalactic Ventures
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Good morning, and thank you Senator Cruz, for calling this hearing. And I’d like to welcome Senator Markey as our new Space Subcommittee Ranking Member.
I’m looking forward to continuing the bipartisan tradition of advancing the U.S. space enterprise.
I’ve had several very positive conversations with Vice President Pence about the importance of the space program, and I was honored to participate in the president’s signing of our NASA Authorization bill. I also look forward to working with the Vice President on re-establishing the Space Council at the White House. I think that is an opportunity where, Senator Cruz, you and I can work with the administration to improve coordination of commercial, civil, and national security space activities across the government.
If you want to take the temperature of the commercial launch sector in the U.S., look no further than Cape Canaveral, FL. As goes the Cape, so goes the commercial launch business.
A few years ago, I recognized a startling trend. Despite all of the available infrastructure and the amazing workforce at the Cape, commercial launch companies were looking elsewhere to take their business. With the Air Force, NASA, FAA, and other entities all involved in licensing and approving launch activities, there was just too much bureaucracy for them to deal with. So, I convened top leaders from the Air Force, NASA, and the FAA in Chairman Rockefeller’s office. I brought a map of all of the abandoned launch pads at the Cape, and I implored them that it is in the best interest of our nation to work together, with the private sector, to bring these pads back to life.
In 2015, Senator Cruz and I included identical language in both the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act and the National Defense Authorization Act, both of which were signed by the President on the exact same day, to streamline the licensing and approving process for commercial launches at federal installations. Now, after that legislation, and after several conversations with the top Air Force brass, the heads of NASA and the FAA, and industry we’re really getting somewhere.
The transformation at the Cape couldn’t be more dramatic. Huge commercial rocket and satellite manufacturing facilities are going up, along with a steady increase in jobs. Meanwhile, work continues on NASA’s deep space Orion capsule and the launch infrastructure to launch the SLS monster rocket. The commercial crew companies are building their capsules and rockets at the Cape, preparing for crewed launches in the very near future. And General Monteith, the commander of the 45th Space Wing, is forecasting over 30 launches this year and up to an astounding 48 launches per year in the next couple of years, up from an average of a dozen or so launches per year in the past. Most of that activity will be commercial.
This transformation at the Cape is illustrative of the broader impacts that the space industry has to offer to our country.
And we’re just getting going. Right around the corner, there are exciting new endeavors in space enabled by partnerships with NASA and the entrepreneurs and innovators in the private sector. We’ll hear today about additive manufacturing in space and the amazing potential of that technology. We’ll hear about space habitats, about revolutionary new launch capabilities, and about achieving the dream of vastly expanding the numbers of people traveling to, living, and working in space.
We all know challenges exist but the key to success here is balance; balance between public and private space endeavors, between competition and cooperation, between risk and public safety.
Thank you all for being here, and I look forward to your testimony.
Witness Panel 1
Mr. Robert BigelowFounderBigelow Aerospace
Mr. Rob MeyersonPresidentBlue Origin
Mr. George WhitesidesCEOGalactic Ventures
Mr. Andrew RushCEOMade in Space