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Friday, May 04, 2012

Hawaii State Legislature Passes Spaceport, Lunar Research and Development Bills

Hawaii state lawmakers passed two space-related bills yesterday bringing the state closer to space tourism and developing industry on the moon.

The state is advancing efforts for Spaceport Kalaeloa in funding an application to the Federal Aviation Administration to add Hawaii's application to the ten commercial spaceports now permitted by the federal government for suborbital and orbital spaceflight operations. It is an idea that has been around a few years.

The second measure funds the International Lunar Research Park on the Big Island. The facility would help create robots designed to develop a colony on the moon and have the first human settlement on the moon within 10 years. To get that going the state would invest half a million from the budget and float another $1.8 million in bonds in order to support the moon research and development effort.

HB2873 transfers the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) from the University of Hawaii to the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism’s Office of Aerospace Development, and establishes a PISCES board of directors.

In addition, SB112 Space Tourism, appropriates funds for the application of a spaceport license from the Federal Aviation Administration to establish space tourism in Hawaii, subject to matching federal funds on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The measure has previously advanced, but funding was not released by the former governor..

The two state legislative measures now go to Governor Neil Abercrombie's office. The governor has 45 days from the time a bill was received to veto it, sign it into law, or allow it to pass into law without his signature.

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