24/05/2018 space.com  3 min #141705

Trump to Sign New Policy Directive Aimed at Commercial Space Regulation Reforms

A second section deals with commercial remote-sensing regulatory reform. "The current regulatory system is woefully out of date and needs significant reform to ensure the United States remains the chosen jurisdiction for these high-tech companies," the fact sheet states.

A related section calls on the Secretary of Commerce to provide a plan to create a "one-stop shop" within his department "for administering and regulating commercial spaceflight activities." The Commerce Department had previously announced plans to combine the Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs office with the Office of Space Commerce, giving the latter office that regulatory role for issues other than launch and communications.

The policy directs several agencies, including Commerce, the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Federal Communications Committee, to develop a plan for "improving global competitiveness" of policies, regulation and other activities dealing with the use of  radiofrequency spectrum for space activities.

A final section of the policy directs the National Space Council to review export control regulations regarding commercial spaceflight activities and provide recommendations within 180 days.

The policy closely follows the recommendations from the  February meeting of the National Space Council. However, White House officials, speaking on background, said they don't expect immediate changes as a result of the policy since many of the changes, like changes to regulations, will take months to implement through standard rulemaking processes.

Some changes, the officials acknowledge, will require legislation to enact, such as authority to license "non-traditional"  commercial space activities. The House last month approved a bill, the American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act, to carry out some of those changes, while the Senate Commerce Committee is drafting its own. The administration is in discussions with House and Senate members on needed legislation, the officials said.

The administration is separately considering a space-traffic management policy that Vice President Mike Pence announced at the 34th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs April 16. That policy would give the Commerce Department's Office of Space Commerce new authority to provide space situational awareness services for civil and commercial operators.

"I would hope that our next step after this one will be a policy directive on space-traffic management," a White House official said on background, adding nothing is official yet regarding that proposed policy.

This story was provided by  SpaceNews , dedicated to covering all aspects of the space industry.