42 USC 14733 - Shuttle privatization

(a) Policy and preparation 
The Administrator shall prepare for an orderly transition from the Federal operation, or Federal management of contracted operation, of space transportation systems to the Federal purchase of commercial space transportation services for all nonemergency space transportation requirements for transportation to and from Earth orbit, including human, cargo, and mixed payloads. In those preparations, the Administrator shall take into account the need for short-term economies, as well as the goal of restoring the National Aeronautics and Space Administrations research focus and its mandate to promote the fullest possible commercial use of space. As part of those preparations, the Administrator shall plan for the potential privatization of the Space Shuttle program. Such plan shall keep safety and cost effectiveness as high priorities. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the National Aeronautics and Space Administration from studying, designing, developing, or funding upgrades or modifications essential to the safe and economical operation of the Space Shuttle fleet.
(b) Feasibility study 
The Administrator shall conduct a study of the feasibility of implementing the recommendation of the Independent Shuttle Management Review Team that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration transition toward the privatization of the Space Shuttle. The study shall identify, discuss, and, where possible, present options for resolving, the major policy and legal issues that must be addressed before the Space Shuttle is privatized, including
(1) whether the Federal Government or the Space Shuttle contractor should own the Space Shuttle orbiters and ground facilities;
(2) whether the Federal Government should indemnify the contractor for any third party liability arising from Space Shuttle operations, and, if so, under what terms and conditions;

Advertisement
view counter
(3) whether payloads other than National Aeronautics and Space Administration payloads should be allowed to be launched on the Space Shuttle, how missions will be prioritized, and who will decide which mission flies and when;
(4) whether commercial payloads should be allowed to be launched on the Space Shuttle and whether any classes of payloads should be made ineligible for launch consideration;
(5) whether National Aeronautics and Space Administration and other Federal Government payloads should have priority over non-Federal payloads in the Space Shuttle launch assignments, and what policies should be developed to prioritize among payloads generally;
(6) whether the public interest requires that certain Space Shuttle functions continue to be performed by the Federal Government; and
(7) how much cost savings, if any, will be generated by privatization of the Space Shuttle.
(c) Report to Congress 
Within 60 days after October 28, 1998, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall complete the study required under subsection (b) of this section and shall submit a report on the study to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Science of the House of Representatives.