An aerospace company started by Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos has enlisted K&L Gates in Washington to help send humans into space.
K&L Gates is lobbying for Blue Origin LLC on NASA reauthorization and the Commercial Space Launch Act, which regulates the private space transportation industry, according to lobbying registration paperwork filed with Congress Tuesday. Congress is working on legislation to extend the law that authorizes NASA programs before it expires in September and is mulling an update to the Commercial Space Launch Act.
Former U.S. representatives Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) and James Walsh (R-N.Y.) are among the K&L Gates lobbyists handling the account. Gordon is a partner at the firm; Walsh is a government affairs counselor. Partners R. Paul Stimers and Daniel Ritter, as well as associate Stephen Roberts, also are on the account.
"This is a very new industry," he said. "They need some flexibility."
Founded in 2000, Blue Origin is creating "technologies to enable private human access to space at dramatically lower cost and increased reliability," according to its website. K&L Gates is the first firm to register to lobby for the Kent, Wash.-based company, according to congressional records.
Blue Origin is the latest in a string of space clients for K&L Gates. The firm lobbies for asteroid mining company Planetary Resources Inc. and the Commercial Spaceflight Coalition. K&L Gates also once advocated for reusable-spacecraft manufacturer Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX.