Air Force Stock Fund:

Hydrazine Sales Consistent with the Commercial Space Launch Act

NSIAD-91-196: Published: May 31, 1991. Publicly Released: Jul 16, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Air Force's sales of hydrazine propellants to private firms for use in commercial space launches, focusing on whether such sales: (1) complied with the intent of the Commercial Space Launch Act (CSLA); and (2) competed with private firms' commercial sales.

GAO found that: (1) the Air Force had authority, separate from CSLA, to sell fuels out of its stock fund to private firms for commercial space launch activities; (2) the Air Force's sales of hydrazine propellants to commercial customers were consistent with the act's requirements and intent; (3) although CSLA did not specifically address the issue of government agency competition with private-sector interests, it gave agencies considerable discretion in balancing commercial and government interests regarding public health and safety, safety of property, or national security interests; (4) the Air Force's sales of hydrazine propellants to authorized commercial customers did not compete with private commercial sales, since only the Air Force had the approval for transporting Aerozine-50; and (5) for safety reasons, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration only accepted government-owned hydrazine propellants at government storage facilities, which would make it difficult for a private company to provide propellant for launches.