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Leaders say commercial space industry is reaching inflection point

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — On Wednesday, representatives from Blue Origin, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic told federal lawmakers the commercial space industry is at an inflection point.

During a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing, SpaceX’s vice president for Build and Flight Reliability said that the pace of regulation must match the pace of innovation.

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Bill Gerstenmaier testified that SpaceX’s Starship, which is an integral piece of NASA’s Artemis plans, has been ready for its next flight test since mid-September. But, the company is still waiting on an FAA license and an interagency review.

Industry leaders said with an increased launch cadence, the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation needs additional resources.

Read: SpaceX successfully launches Falcon 9 rocket

Missouri Senator Eric Schmitt,  the top Republican on the subcommittee, said that Congress shouldn’t sit idly by and watch agency turf wars.

“We must be clear-eyed about the goal, stopping China through American space dominance, to me nothing could be more important,” he said.

Read: NASA launches Psyche mission destined for asteroid 2 billion miles away

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