Rep. Tyler Sirois’ House Bill Unanimously Passes, Helps the Recovery of Spaceflight Assets
By Tyler Sirois, State Representative District 51 // March 26, 2021
bill calls for criminal penalty for misappropriation of spaceflight asset
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed House Bill 221 by Representative Tyler Sirois (R-Merritt Island) relating to the recovery of spaceflight assets in the State of Florida.
The bill, having passed its final committee on Wednesday, is now ready to be heard on the House Floor.
The legislation seeks to ensure that Florida’s growing aerospace industry can continue to protect valuable intellectual property, public safety, and sensitive space vehicle hardware as spaceflight activity increases within our state.
“As Florida continues to lead the nation in commercial aerospace, our laws need to evolve with the growing and unique demands of this industry,” said Representative Tyler Sirois.
“The recovery of spaceflight debris is an increasingly common issue in Florida. The return of these materials is necessary to evaluate vehicle safety and performance.
“Current trends in the industry are based on the concept of reusability. This means that various components or assets of the spacecraft—used during both launch and reentry—can be recovered and reused. This practice allows the launch provider to reduce the overall cost of getting materials into orbit.”
The bill defines a spaceflight asset as any reasonably identifiable item that is a component of a spacecraft during launch, orbit, or reentry.
Common examples of a spaceflight asset may include:
“This legislation is yet another demonstration of Florida’s commitment to the commercial aerospace industry,” said Representative Sirois.
The bill explicitly provides that a spaceflight asset remains the property of its owner following launch and reentry and requires a person who finds an item reasonably identifiable as a spaceflight asset to report its location to a law enforcement agency.
It provides local law enforcement with the capability of retrieving a spaceflight asset from private individuals to ensure it is returned back to its owner.
Further, the bill would make it a criminal penalty if a person knowingly tries to misappropriate an item reasonably identified as a spaceflight asset—like posting the item for sale or refusing to surrender the item to its rightful owner—in order to protect the intellectual property rights and technological achievements of our great American aerospace companies and keep Florida an attractive destination for them to do business.
The companion sponsor in the Senate is Senator Tom Wright (R-New Smyrna Beach). The companion bill, Senate Bill 936, must first be heard by its last referenced committee before it can be sent to the Senate floor for a vote.
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