Luján, Hickenlooper, Cornyn, Wicker Introduce Bill to Launch New Era of Spaceports
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján, John Hickenlooper, John Cornyn, and Roger Wicker introduced the bipartisan Spaceport Project Opportunities for Resilient Transportation (SPACEPORT) Act, which would encourage the development of commercial spaceports through the modernization of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Space Transportation Infrastructure Matching (STIM) grant program.
Spaceports are ground-based launch and reentry sites that can be used to support public and private ventures into space.
“As New Mexico’s space industry continues to rapidly grow, we need investments in our space infrastructure to propel us into a new era of space exploration and technological advancement,” said Luján. “I’m proud to join my colleagues to introduce legislation that will reestablish a critical grant program that supports investments in our country’s space launch infrastructure, including our very own Spaceport America. These investments will not only drive economic growth but also continue New Mexico’s position as a leader in science, technology, and other emerging industries.”
“Spaceports are Colorado’s gateway to the commercial space boom, and we need to prioritize that infrastructure if we want to stay at the top of the space industry,” said Hickenlooper.
“American space exploration has come a long way, but we can and should go even further,” said Cornyn. “By investing in our spaceport infrastructure, this legislation helps ensure the U.S. space industry remains competitive and is prepared to handle future national security threats.”
“With the demand for space launches growing, ensuring that the U.S. has the right infrastructure in place is critical. Creating and expanding spaceports nationwide will help the military, communications, navigation, weather forecasting, agriculture, and disaster response,” said Wicker.
With more commercial spaceports emerging across the U.S., there is a growing need to establish a dedicated funding source from the Department of Transportation to support the unique infrastructure needs of the space transportation industry.
The FAA’s STIM program promotes the development of resilient U.S. space transportation capabilities by providing federal grants for spaceport infrastructure projects. However, the program has not been modernized since it was first created in 1994, and the program has effectively lapsed since Fiscal Year 2012.
The SPACEPORT Act would reauthorize and update the STIM program to reflect the growing demand for civil, commercial, and national security launches. The legislation would also refine the funding mechanisms to support new spaceport construction projects and infrastructure updates to operational spaceports across the country.
For full text of the bill, click HERE.