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Brooks Leads Bipartisan Letter to Air Force Secretary on Assured Access to Space

April 15, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC— Friday afternoon, 28 bipartisan members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05), sent a letter to United States Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson supporting the Air Force’s National Security Space Launch Program’s Phase 2 acquisition strategy. The signers requested the Air Force refrain from weakening any performance requirements and emphasized the importance of limiting Phase 2 missions to two launch providers.

Bipartisan cosigners: Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04), Congressman Troy Balderson (OH-12), Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01), Congressman Ken Buck (CO-04), Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01), Congressman Steve Chabot (OH-01), Congressman Jason Crow (CO-06), Congressman Warren Davidson (OH-08), Congresswoman Diana DeGette (CO-01), Congressman Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03), Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S (AZ-04), Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03), Congressman David P. Joyce (OH-14), Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18), Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02), Congressman Paul Mitchell (MI-10), Congressman Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Congressman Ed Perlmutter (CO-07), Congresswoman Martha Roby (AL-02), Congresswoman Linda T. Sanchez (CA-38), Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (AL-07), Congressman Brad Sherman (CA-30), Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03), Congressman Michael R. Turner (OH-10), and Congressman Brad Wenstrup (OH-02).

Click HERE for the letter.

Congressman Brooks said, “America’s national security weaponry overwhelmingly relies on space assets to properly function. As such, America must have reliable and affordable space access options. The Air Force conducted a robust and competitive launch provider selection process open to all U.S. launch providers. National security needs require the Air Force's launch provider acquisition to remain on schedule.”

Brooks continued, “Current law mandates that America stop relying on Russian rocket engines. Congress debated this in 2017 and rightly determined that reliance on rocket engines built by a potential adversary is entirely unacceptable. In fact, that is one of the main drivers of the Air Force’s current acquisition schedule. If launch provider acquisition is delayed, America cannot ensure we can reliably launch space assets on time. The Air Force should not weaken performance requirements, particularly for America’s most sensitive national security missions, because doing so risks mission loss caused by lesser quality rockets.”

Brooks concluded, “The Air Force has determined that there are enough launch missions to support two providers but not three. Having only one launch provider is costly and risky. While three or more launch providers are an option, there simply are not enough missions available to profitably allow three or more providers to co-exist. More launches equals fewer launches per provider which, in turn, means higher taxpayer cost resulting from the loss of economies of scale that reduce prices. Essentially, one launch provider is not enough and three providers are too many. Two providers is the sweet spot, and the sooner we get to two providers, the better off America and its taxpayers will be.”