Declaring the words in the headline, a junior congressman from Oklahoma who has stepped into a void of space leadership in the House, Rep. James Bridenstine, boldly told a jaded audience of senior space officials, diplomats, enthusiasts and the aerospace industry today that America “must forever be the preeminent spacefaring nation.”
Bridenstine unveiled his American Space Renaissance Act, a comprehensive bill that is almost certain never to see the light of day in its entirety, but may help reshape the conversation on Capitol Hill.
“I want to start new conversations between Congress, executive branch agencies, industry, the space policy community, and other stakeholders and keep old ones going. The importance of space is often lost on the general public, and as a result, on Congress as well,” the former F-18 pilot said. “This must change. Space is too important.”
Cleverly, the congressman has broken the bill into separate sections dealing with national security, commercial and civil space, giving them all a chance to survive as stand-alone bills or as amendments to other legislation (such as the must-pass annual National Defense Authorization Act). But in crafting a compelling speech and delivering it before a friendly — if jaded — audience, Bridenstine positions himself as a new center of gravity on space issues on Capitol Hill.