Washington — Bipartisan legislation recently introduced in the House would authorize the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate commercial space incidents involving deaths, injuries or “substantial damage to property.”
Introduced Aug. 9 by Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), ranking member of the House Aviation Subcommittee, H.R. 8689 also would direct the agency to “enter into a memorandum of agreement with any government agency with the authority to certify a commercial space transportation operation or investigate a commercial space transportation accident.”
In November, NTSB proposed a rule that would codify the agency’s authority to investigate commercial space incidents.
“As commercial space transportation technology advances, we must guarantee that safety progresses as well,” Graves said in a press release. “This is the only way to ensure a robust industry and all the benefits of innovation. This legislation clarifies how commercial space transportation accidents will be handled and how lessons learned will be applied. This is the product of engagement with stakeholders across the industry and will promote a strong culture of safety as passengers and cargo are transported to, from and within space.”
In a Bloomberg report published Aug. 16, NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy says the measure “is needed to clarify our role in commercial space.”
The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Rick Larsen (D-WA), Sam Graves (R-MO) and Peter DeFazio (D-OR).