"Tombstone Mentality" and H.R. 656
Having opposed the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act, the congressman offered H.R. 656, a bill which would eliminate what he worried was "tombstone mentality" in the Act by essentially requiring the government not wait for a space accident before mandating safety requirements for suborbital spaceflight passengers. Here are Rep. Oberstar's comments on the House floor.
Sam ("Space supremacy is definitely worth dying for") Dinkin, has read the new legislation and wept. In his column in The Space Review, Sam speaks for freewheelin' pro-space pioneers everywhere when he turns the safety issue around and argues, "the space supremacy we won since Vietnam has saved millions of lives with GPS ordinance guidance, unit navigation, satellite communications, satellite data, satellite surveillance, and the unsung hero, satellite news." Space activities save lives.
Meanwhile, Rep. Oberstar, and those who agree with his efforts, continue to worry about risk, and discount the view that legislation like H.R. 656 may impair commercial space industry progress and hamper future innovation. The debate continues...