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White House Completes Review On Space Launch Ranges

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Office of Science and Technology Policy

For Immediate Release 
Contact: 202/456-6108
February 8, 2000



On March 29, 1999 the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs signed a memo to the Secretaries of Defense, Transportation, and Commerce, the Director of Central Intelligence, and the NASA Administrator.  This memo initiated a White House-led interagency review on the management and use of the U.S. space launch bases and ranges.  The interagency working group was co-chaired by NSC and OSTP and all U.S. space sectors had a voice in the process.  The review examined modernization efforts and looked to the future to recommend areas where we can streamline policy and management arrangements to enable the launch bases and ranges to accommodate all U.S. space transportation users more efficiently. The report is available to the public on the world wide web at the following addresses: www.af.mil, www.hq.nasa.gov/osf, and www.whitehouse.gov/WH/EOP/OSTP/html/spaceranges.pdf.

The Report of the Interagency Working Group on Future Management and Use of the U.S. Space Launch Bases and Ranges examines the current roles and responsibilities of federal government agencies and the U.S. commercial space sector and the major policy and management issues resulting from the shift in launch base use from its historic government-dominated basis toward more commercial, market-driven activities.  The U.S. government is already sharing substantial responsibilities with the commercial sector and is pursuing a path to share significantly more responsibilities with spaceports, state governments, and commercial operators in the future. The report describes a strategy that builds on these changes with a series of near-term steps that will enhance and expand the government-state-industry partnership.  These steps include:

  • Alternative management processes to allow U.S. commercial and government users to have a greater voice in improving operational flexibility and efficiency of the ranges.
  • Use of nonfederal funding where appropriate—especially from states and spaceports—for the maintenance and modernization of the launch bases and ranges to meet national needs.
  • Options for replacing the “excess capacity” construct in the current law to allow a more complete federal-state-industry partnership to develop.
  • Common range safety requirements for government and commercial launches at federal and nonfederal launch sites.
  • Next-generation range technology development and demonstration, with a focused charter to improve safety, increase flexibility and capacity, and lower costs for reusable and expendable launches.

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White House Completes Review on Space Launch Ranges Feb 8, 2000

White House Completes Review On Space Launch Ranges