Ronald Reagan picture

Statement on Signing the Commercial Space Launch Act

October 30, 1984

I am pleased to sign into law H.R. 3942, the Commercial Space Launch Act. One of the important objectives of my administration has been, and will continue to be, the encouragement of the private sector in commercial space endeavors. Fragmentation and shared authority had unnecessarily complicated the process of approving activities in space. Enactment of this legislation is a milestone in our efforts to address the need of private companies interested in launching payloads to have ready access to space.

This administration views facilitation of the commercial development of expendable launch vehicles as an important component of America's space transportation program. We expect that a healthy ELV industry, as a complement to the Government's space transportation system, will produce a stronger, more efficient launch capability for the United States that will contribute to continued American leadership in space.

In developing the administration's approach toward encouraging this emerging industry, I have been guided by the belief that the procedures a company must comply with before being permitted to launch a launch vehicle or a payload were duplicative and should be streamlined and otherwise made efficient. H.R. 3942 has translated this objective into a comprehensive licensing mechanism enabling launch operators to comply quickly and efficiently with existing Federal regulations. This in turn will act as a signal to private launch operators that this administration stands behind their efforts to open up this new area of space exploration.

I want to express my appreciation to the leadership of the Senate Commerce Committee, the House Science and Technology Committee, and their staffs for their dedication and hard work in this accomplishment. Additionally, I want to thank Secretary of Transportation Dole and Jennifer Dorn, Director of the Office of Commercial Space Transportation, for the enormous amount of work they have already done to prepare for the responsibilities they will have under this historic legislation.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 3942 is Public Law 98-575, approved October 30.

Ronald Reagan, Statement on Signing the Commercial Space Launch Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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