A few short generations ago, space was inaccessible. The most we could do to explore beyond our planet was to peer at the sky through land-based telescopes. Then, in the span of my lifetime, advances in rocketry made it possible for us to launch satellites, spacecraft, and even humans beyond our atmosphere. And while the drive to reach ever farther into space persists, the environment in which we’re operating has changed.
In the past, government programs and missions drove our progress in space activities. Today, however, we see advances driven by entrepreneurship and the ingenuity of the private sector.
We now live in a space-based economy. Satellites are providing everything from internet access to GPS guidance to storm tracking. You’d be hard-pressed to get through your day without relying on space-based services.
Some estimates project that the global space industry will be worth more than $1 trillion by 2040. If we want the United States to reap the rewards of this economic boom, we must ensure a healthy environment exists for this sector to grow and thrive here. Doing so will benefit not only our country as a whole but also the Lone Star State – where more than one in ten U.S. space industry jobs are located. A robust American space industry guarantees the same in Texas.
However, the need for U.S. leadership in space goes far beyond the direct economic benefits. The country that leads the way in space exploration sets the standards for how we operate there. On the one hand, you have the values of freedom, transparency, and open science shared by America and our allies. On the other, the authoritarian regime of the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army.
To support U.S. space exploration, Congress has passed legislation that lays a foundation for how this enterprise can operate.
The last law to support America’s commercial space growth was enacted in 2015—a lifetime ago for an innovative…