Wicker, Hyde-Smith Introduce the LIFTS Act

Legislation Would Establish a Facility at Stennis Space Center to Modernize Commercial Space Licensing Training

November 6, 2019

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., today introduced the Licensing Innovations and Future Technologies in Space (LIFTS) Act. The bill would modernize training for the federal commercial space licensing workforce and promote collaboration with academia and industry by creating a centralized training facility for safety and licensing personnel. The new facility would be located at the NASA Stennis Space Center in Hancock County. 

“The Stennis Space Center is the perfect location for training more space professionals to certify the growing demand for commercial space launches in the United States,” Wicker said. “This legislation would help ensure the U.S. remains the leader in the commercial space industry and would expand Mississippi’s contributions to the future of space exploration and research.”

“The federal oversight and licensing of commercial space technologies will require a workforce qualified to certify the safety and efficiency of those breakthroughs. The LIFTS Act would tap the expertise based at the Stennis Space Center to establish a facility to meet this critical need,” Hyde-Smith said.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant said, "For nearly 60 years, Mississippi has been a leader in rocket engine testing and certification of systems and workforce. When certifying rockets for space flight, it has been said ‘man may go to the moon and return safely to earth but he will have to pass through Mississippi to get there.’ As this bill is considered, my hope is that the existing experience in Mississippi is used as the foundation to train the next generation of space explorers.”

The LIFTS Act would establish a facility to train federal employees to license commercial space activities. The training program would be coordinated between the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA, the commercial space industry, and academic partners.