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House Science Committee Approves Posey’s Bipartisan Legislation to Promote Commercial Space Ventures

Washington, May 13, 2015 - Today the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology approved bipartisan, bicameral legislation filed by U.S. Representative Bill Posey (R-FL) to expand opportunities and protections for private space companies looking to explore space. The Space Resource Exploration and Utilization Act of 2015 (H.R.1508) establishes and protects property rights for commercial space exploration and utilization of asteroid resources.

“Asteroids are excellent potential sources of highly valuable resources and minerals,” said Rep. Bill Posey, a Member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. “Our knowledge of asteroids – their number, location, and composition – has been increasing at a tremendous rate and space technology has advanced to the point where the private sector is now able to begin planning such expeditions. I am pleased to see this bipartisan, bicameral legislation move forward which will help advance this industry.”

Currently, rare minerals used to manufacture a wide range of products are found in a small number of countries. This has left the United States dependent on foreign nations for these resources. The limited supply and high demand for these materials, alongside major advances in space technology and a deeper understanding of asteroids, has led a number of private sector investors to begin developing plans to identify and secure high-value minerals found on asteroids and transport those resources here for us to use on Earth.

Some rare minerals that could be found within asteroids include: platinum group metals such as platinum, osmium, iridium, ruthenium, rhodium, and palladium in addition to nickel, iron and cobalt.

Specifically, H.R. 1508, the Space Resource Exploration and Utilization Act of 2015, would:
• Clarify that resources mined from an asteroid are the property of the entity that obtained them.
• Ensure U.S. companies can conduct their operation without harmful interference.
• Direct the President to facilitate commercial development of asteroid resources.

Bipartisan legislation (S.976) has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mark Warner (D-VA).

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