President Donald Trump’s administration has been slashing regulations all over the government, from net neutrality to environmental protection, and its collective gaze has now turned to outer space.
Vice President Mike Pence detailed the administration’s vision for a cosmos that more closely resembles a free-market frontier in the second meeting of the National Space Council at the Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday.
That’s welcome news to billionaires like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, who all founded private space travel companies and are racing to launch a new commercial industry.
The administration’s proposal looks to make it easier for private companies to launch rockets into orbit. Under current regulations, the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation issues licenses for one launch and re-entry at a time, from one location and with one vehicle type. The new proposal would expand the scope of a license to permit multiple launches and re-entries from multiple sites and with different rocket types.
“The government’s figured out how to honor drivers’ licenses across state lines,” Pence said. “There’s no reason we can’t do the same for rockets.”
The meeting comes two weeks after Musk’s company Space Explorations Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX, launched the world’s biggest rocket into space. The rocket, dubbed Falcon Heavy, carried Musk’s Tesla roadster and a dummy as its payload.
“Somewhere out there in space is a bright red Roadster going thousands of miles per hour, the fastest car in history. We had better keep up with it,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Jr., also a member of the council.
Pence said easing regulations will be a launch pad for new business ventures and the United States economy.
“With these reforms, American private enterprise will usher in a new era of space leadership that will propel our economy, strengthen our national security and rekindle our belief that America can, and will, continue to accomplish anything we put our minds to,” Pence said.
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