NOAA Seeks Budget Boosts for Two Commercial Space Offices

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The Obama Administration has proposed boosting spending for two small offices within NOAA that are focused on space commerce and remote sensing.

The Office of Space Commerce (OSC) would receive a $2 million budget in FY 2017, an increase of $1.4 million over its current spending level.  The Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs Office would see its budget double under the proposal.

According to budget documents, the additional funding would allow the OSC “to encourage a robust and transparent marketplace for commercial space businesses to provide environmental data and other space services to NOAA. The NOAA Commercial Space Policy designates the Office of Space Commerce as a single point of entry for commercial providers to streamline the process for easier engagement with NOAA.

“With this funding request, OSC will:

  • Collect and publish NOAA requirements, standards and other information that commercial providers need to enter the marketplace for NOAA;
  • Organize industry workshops and meetings to discuss business models with commercial providers;
    • Lead initial feasibility analysis of commercial space solutions to meet NOAA observational requirements;
    • Travel to vendor sites, partners, stakeholders, and relevant conferences to facilitate communication, guidance and engagement; and
    • Hire new personnel and fund associated operating expenses.”

NOAA has also proposed raising the budget of the Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs Office from $1 million to just over $2 million. The office oversees the inter-agency review of remote sensing license applications and also handles enforcement and license compliance.

The additional funding would “increase NOAA’s capacity, accelerate review efforts and continue to enforce and ensure compliance with terms of new satellite license agreements,” according to budget documents.

There has been a major increase in license applications from commercial remote sensing companies in recent years.