S. 1297 would authorize the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to continue to maintain and operate the International Space Station (ISS) through 2024. Currently, NASA is authorized to engage in those activities through 2020. The legislation would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) and NASA to submit various reports to the Congress regarding commercial space operations and services, industry practices, as well as to assess potential liabilities associated with commercial space launches. In addition, the legislation would allow greater flexibility to private firms seeking launch licenses from DOT and it would encourage advances in launch safety regulations.
CBO estimates that implementing S. 1297 would cost less than $500,000 over the 2016-2020 period and about $14.3 billion over the 2016-2025 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. Enacting S. 1297 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
S. 1297 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.