51 U.S. Code § 50131 - Requirement to procure commercial space transportation services

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§ 50131.
Requirement to procure commercial space transportation services
(a)In General.—
Except as otherwise provided in this section or in section 70102, the Federal Government shall acquire space transportation services from United States commercial providers whenever such services are required in the course of its activities. To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers.
(b)Exceptions.—The Federal Government shall not be required to acquire space transportation services under subsection (a) if, on a case-by-case basis, the Administrator or, in the case of a national security issue, the Secretary of the Air Force, determines that—
(1)
a payload requires the unique capabilities of the space shuttle;
(2)
cost effective space transportation services that meet specific mission requirements would not be reasonably available from United States commercial providers when required;
(3)
the use of space transportation services from United States commercial providers poses an unacceptable risk of loss of a unique scientific opportunity;
(4)
the use of space transportation services from United States commercial providers is inconsistent with national security objectives;
(5)
the use of space transportation services from United States commercial providers is inconsistent with international agreements for international collaborative efforts relating to science and technology;
(6)
it is more cost effective to transport a payload in conjunction with a test or demonstration of a space transportation vehicle owned by the Federal Government; or
(7)
a payload can make use of the available cargo space on a space shuttle mission as a secondary payload, and such payload is consistent with the requirements of research, development, demonstration, scientific, commercial, and educational programs authorized by the Administrator.
(c)Agreements With Foreign Entities.—
Nothing in this section shall prevent the Administrator from planning or negotiating agreements with foreign entities for the launch of Federal Government payloads for international collaborative efforts relating to science and technology.
(d)Delayed Effect.—
Subsection (a) shall not apply to space transportation services and space transportation vehicles acquired or owned by the Federal Government before October 28, 1998, or with respect to which a contract for such acquisition or ownership has been entered into before October 28, 1998.
(e)Historical Purposes.—
This section shall not be construed to prohibit the Federal Government from acquiring, owning, or maintaining space transportation vehicles solely for historical display purposes.
(Pub. L. 111–314, § 3, Dec. 18, 2010, 124 Stat. 3399; Pub. L. 114–90, title I, § 117(b)(3), Nov. 25, 2015, 129 Stat. 718.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Revised

Section

Source (U.S. Code)

Source (Statutes at Large)

50131(a)

42 U.S.C. 14731(a).

Pub. L. 105–303, title II, § 201, Oct. 28, 1998, 112 Stat. 2854.

50131(b)

42 U.S.C. 14731(b) (less last sentence).

50131(c)

42 U.S.C. 14731(b) (last sentence).

50131(d)

42 U.S.C. 14731(c).

50131(e)

42 U.S.C. 14731(d).

In subsection (d), the date “October 28, 1998” is substituted for “the date of the enactment of this Act” and for “such date” to reflect the date of enactment of the Commercial Space Act of 1998 (Public Law 105–303, 112 Stat. 2843).

Amendments

2015—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 114–90 inserted “or in section 70102” after “in this section”.

NASA Launch Capabilities Collaboration

Pub. L. 115–10, title VIII, § 822, Mar. 21, 2017, 131 Stat. 61, provided that:

“(a)Findings.—Congress makes the following findings:
“(1)
The Launch Services Program is responsible for the acquisition, management, and technical oversight of commercial launch services for NASA’s [National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s] science and robotic missions.
“(2)
The Commercial Crew Program is responsible for the acquisition, management, and technical oversight of commercial crew transportation systems.
“(3)
The Launch Services Program and Commercial Crew Program have worked together to gain exceptional technical insight into the contracted launch service providers that are common to both programs.
“(4)
The Launch Services Program has a long history of oversight of 12 different launch vehicles and over 80 launches.
“(5)
Co-location of the Launch Services Program and Commercial Crew Program has enabled the Commercial Crew Program to efficiently obtain the launch vehicle technical expertise of and provide engineering and analytical support to the Commercial Crew Program.
“(b)Sense of Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that—
“(1)
the Launch Services Program and Commercial Crew Program each benefit from communication and coordination of launch manifests, technical information, and common launch vehicle insight between the programs; and
“(2)
such communication and coordination is enabled by the co-location of the programs.
“(c)In General.—
The Administrator [of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration] shall pursue a strategy for acquisition of crewed transportation services and non-crewed launch services that continues to enhance communication, collaboration, and coordination between the Launch Services Program and the Commercial Crew Program.”

Leveraging Commercial Satellite Servicing Capabilities Across Mission Directorates

Pub. L. 115–10, title VIII, § 825, Mar. 21, 2017, 131 Stat. 65, provided that:

“(a)Findings.—Congress makes the following findings:
“(1)
Refueling and relocating aging satellites to extend their operational lifetimes is a capacity that NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] will substantially benefit from and is important for lowering the costs of ongoing scientific, national security, and commercial satellite operations.
“(2)
The technologies involved in satellite servicing, such as dexterous robotic arms, propellant transfer systems, and solar electric propulsion, are all critical capabilities to support a human exploration mission to Mars.
“(b)Sense of Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that—
“(1)
satellite servicing is a vital capability that will bolster the capacity and affordability of NASA’s ongoing scientific and human exploration operations while simultaneously enhancing the ability of domestic companies to compete in the global marketplace; and
“(2)
future NASA satellites and spacecraft across mission directorates should be constructed in a manner that allows for servicing in order to maximize operational longevity and affordability.
“(c)Leveraging of Capabilities.—The Administrator [of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration] shall—
“(1)
identify orbital assets in both the Science Mission Directorate and the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate that could benefit from satellite servicing-related technologies; and
“(2)
work across all NASA mission directorates to evaluate opportunities for the private sector to perform such services or advance technical capabilities by leveraging the technologies and techniques developed by NASA programs and other industry programs.”

 

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