51 U.S. Code § 50301 - Definitions

§ 50301.
In this chapter:
(1)Commercial provider.—
The term “commercial provider” means any person or entity providing commercial reusable in-orbit space transportation services or systems, primary control of which is held by persons other than the Federal Government, a State or local government, or a foreign government.
(2)In-space transportation services.—
The term “in-space transportation services” means operations and activities involved in the direct transportation or attempted transportation of a payload or object from one orbit to another by means of an in-space transportation vehicle.
(3)In-space transportation system.—
The term “in-space transportation system” means the space and ground elements, including in-space transportation vehicles and support space systems, and ground administration and control facilities and associated equipment, necessary for the provision of in-space transportation services.
(4)In-space transportation vehicle.—The term “in-space transportation vehicle” means a vehicle designed—
to be based and operated in space;
to transport various payloads or objects from one orbit to another orbit; and
to be reusable and refueled in space.
The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Defense.
(6)United states commercial provider.—
The term “United States commercial provider” means any commercial provider organized under the laws of the United States that is more than 50 percent owned by United States nationals.

Historical and Revision Notes



Source (U.S. Code)

Source (Statutes at Large)


42 U.S.C. 14753.

Pub. L. 107–248, title IX, § 904, Oct. 23, 2002, 116 Stat. 1576.


Pub. L. 107–248, title IX, § 902, Oct. 23, 2002, 116 Stat. 1573, provided that:

“Congress makes the following findings:
It is in the national interest to encourage the production of cost-effective, in-space transportation systems, which would be built and operated by the private sector on a commercial basis.
The use of reusable in-space transportation systems will enhance performance levels of in-space operations, enhance efficient and safe disposal of satellites at the end of their useful lives, and increase the capability and reliability of existing ground-to-space launch vehicles.
Commercial reusable in-space transportation systems will enhance the economic well-being and national security of the United States by reducing space operations costs for commercial and national space programs and by adding new space capabilities to space operations.
Commercial reusable in-space transportation systems will provide new cost-effective space capabilities (including orbital transfers from low altitude orbits to high altitude orbits and return, the correction of erroneous satellite orbits, and the recovery, refurbishment, and refueling of satellites) and the provision of upper stage functions to increase ground-to-orbit launch vehicle payloads to geostationary and other high energy orbits.
Commercial reusable in-space transportation systems can enhance and enable the space exploration of the United States by providing lower cost trajectory injection from earth orbit, transit trajectory control, and planet arrival deceleration to support potential National Aeronautics and Space Administration missions to Mars, Pluto, and other planets.
Satellites stranded in erroneous earth orbit due to deficiencies in their launch represent substantial economic loss to the United States and present substantial concerns for the current backlog of national space assets.
Commercial reusable in-space transportation systems can provide new options for alternative planning approaches and risk management to enhance the mission assurance of national space assets.
Commercial reusable in-space transportation systems developed by the private sector can provide in-space transportation services to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Defense, the National Reconnaissance Office, and other agencies without the need for the United States to bear the cost of production of such systems.
The availability of loan guarantees, with the cost of credit risk to the United States paid by the private-sector, is an effective means by which the United States can help qualifying private-sector companies secure otherwise unattainable private financing for the production of commercial reusable in-space transportation systems, while at the same time minimizing Government commitment and involvement in the development of such systems.”


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