Spacelift Washington: Space Launch Bill Would Cost Treasury $4.4 Billion, Sponsor Says

Spacelift Washington
Spacelift Washington Archive

A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last month to aid the struggling entrepreneurial space launch companies would cost the taxpayers $4.4 billion in lost federal revenue, its chief sponsor said last week. California Republican Rep. Ken Calvert told a Space Transportation Roundtable that while the billions would be lost in tax receipts if the bill became law and was used by the launch providers, launch industry growth would also make up the lost revenue "within two years" of its enactment, Calvert claimed.

The "H.R. 2177 "Invest in Space Now Act of 2001"" was introduced in the House June 14th. Joining Calvert to sponsor the measure was Rep. Solomon Ortiz, a Texas Democrat. The proposed bill would give federal tax credits to two types of space launch builders; small and large boosters. To earn the credits, launch firms would have to demonstrate to the Secretary of Transportation that their proposed space vehicle would substantially reduce the cost of access to space. The firm would also have to show at least $10 million invested in equity capital.

Calvert’s bill does not have a companion in the Senate, and with Congress about to recess for a month until returning in early September, it appears likely that action on the proposal will have to wait until next year’s Congressional session. The spring and summer have seen a spate of new bills to help commercial space firms. In the House Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Rep. Nick Lampson (D-TX) have introduced bills to support commercial space development in orbit and new firms that seek to offer space tourist flights. Senator Bob Graham (D-FLA) has also introduced legislation in the Senate to help spaceport development. When the House and Senate returns in September a budget battle is expected that may occupy much of the legislator’s attention before the final recess at year’s end. Observers give the various bills a better chance at gathering support and possible passage in next year’s session that begins in late January. But lawmakers will need to hurry-2002 is an election year. With all of the House and part of the Senate up for reelection, many members will be away campaigning in the final part of the year-long session.

Related Links

  • 18 July 2001: Space Tourism, Space Tax Incentives, and Bills Introduced in the U.S. Congress, SpaceRef

    Following on the heels of Dennis Tito's vacation on the ISS comes a bill that would promote space tourism. Meanwhile, as NASA struggles with its own ISS commercialization plans, other bills would exempt any U.S. business activity that creates a product in space from taxes back on Earth and provide tax credits to investors. Another bill seeks to clarify satellite technology export requirements. Is business in space about to heat up, cool off, or continue going nowhere?

  • H.R. 2504 "Zero Gravity, Zero Tax Act of 2001"
  • H.R. 2443 "Space Tourism Promotion Act of 2001"
  • H.R. 2177 "Invest in Space Now Act of 2001"
  • H.R. 1707 "Satellite Trade and Security Act of 2001"


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