Law Revision Counsel Home Page


H.R. 4780 (110th Congress)

Title 51, United States Code
National and Commercial Space Programs


Over the past five decades, a substantial amount of legislation has been enacted related to national and commercial space programs (see, e.g., National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958; Commercial Space Act of 1998). In the United States Code, some of these provisions appear in title 15 (Commerce and Trade), some in title 42 (Public Health and Welfare), and some in title 49 (Transportation). No distinct title for national and commercial space programs exists in the United States Code because the organizational scheme for the Code was originally established in 1926, before such programs were contemplated.

H.R. 4780 was introduced December 18, 2007. The bill gathers provisions related to national and commercial space programs and restates these provisions as a new positive law title of the United States Code. The new positive law title replaces the former provisions, which are repealed by the bill.

The bill was prepared by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel as part of the Office's ongoing responsibility under section 205(c) of House Resolution No. 988, 93d Congress, as enacted into law by Public Law 93-554 (2 U.S.C. 285b), ``[t]o prepare, and submit to the Committee on the Judiciary one title at a time, a complete compilation, restatement, and revision of the general and permanent laws of the United States''.

All changes in existing law made by the bill are purely technical in nature. The bill was prepared in accordance with the statutory standard for codification legislation, which is that the restatement of existing law shall conform to the understood policy, intent, and purpose of the Congress in the original enactments, with such amendments and corrections as will remove ambiguities, contradictions, and other imperfections.

The bill is the successor to H.R. 3039, introduced in the 109th Congress on June 22, 2005. In 2006, after an extensive period for review and comment, the Office of the Law Revision Counsel submitted to the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives an amendment to H.R. 3039 in the nature of a substitute. The amendment made all necessary changes based on comments received, incorporated recently enacted provisions, and made improvements in title 51's organizational structure. Near the end of the session, the Committee decided that no action could be taken to consider and report out the predecessor bill due to the overwhelming press of other priorities. No further action was taken before the 109th Congress adjourned sine die. The current bill incorporates laws enacted after June 23, 2006, the cutoff date for laws to have been included in H.R. 3039, and on or before January 17, 2007, and includes several technical corrections, but in all other respects is identical to the substitute amendment to H.R. 3039.

PDF Versions

H.R. 4780 (from GPO website)

Explanation (includes disposition table and section-by-section summary)

Questions and Comments

Questions and comments about this proposed codification bill should be directed to:

     Rob Sukol, Assistant Counsel
     Office of the Law Revision Counsel
     United States House of Representatives
     Washington, D.C. 20515