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National Space Council Approves 4 Recommendations on Regulatory Reform

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
February 23, 2018
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WASHINGTON, DC (White House PR) — Vice President Mike Pence will provide policy recommendations to the President to streamline the regulatory environment for commercial space companies. At the second National Space Council Meeting, the council agreed on the following four recommendations to reform the commercial space regulatory frameworks at the Departments of Transportation and Commerce:

RECOMMENDATION 1: The Secretary of Transportation should work to transform the launch and re-entry licensing regime.

  • The Department of Transportation would require a single license for all types of launch and re-entry vehicle operations and transform the launch and re-entry regulatory process from one of prescriptive requirements to a performance based licensing regime.
  • Revision of the licensing regime would be in coordination with members of the National Space Council.
    • This action should be completed no later than March 1, 2019.

RECOMMENDATION 2: The Secretary of Commerce should consolidate its space commerce responsibilities, other than launch and reentry, in the Office of the Secretary of Commerce.

  • The Department of Commerce should develop a legislative proposal to create an Under Secretary of Space Commerce, who would be responsible for all commercial space regulatory functions.
  • The Secretary of Commerce would also coordinate with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and as appropriate the Federal Communications Commission and the NASA Administrator to streamline the existing commercial remote sensing operation licensing regime, and address new issues such as radio frequency spectrum surveys, rendezvous and proximity operations and docking maneuvers.
  • The Secretary would propose legislative changes that would further enable the rapid, efficient, and predictable permitting of commercial remote sensing activities.
    • This legislation proposal would be completed no later than July 1, 2018.

RECOMMENDATION 3: The National Telecommunication and Information Administration should coordinate with the Federal Communications Commission to ensure the protection and stewardship of radio frequency spectrum necessary for commercial space activities.

  • The protection of radio frequency spectrum necessary for commercial space activity should not adversely affect national security or public safety.
  • The Department of Commerce would take an active role in working with U.S. Industry and members of the National Space Council to develop and advocate, and to the extent possible, implement spectrum management policies that make U.S. space-related industries more competitive globally.

RECOMMENDATION 4: The Executive Secretary of the National Space Council, in coordination with members of the National Space Council, should initiate a policy review of the current export licensing regulations affecting commercial space activity.

  • The recommendations of the policy review should be completed and presented to the National Space Council by January 1, 2019.

4 responses to “National Space Council Approves 4 Recommendations on Regulatory Reform”

  1. ThomasLMatula says:

    Yep, Beyond NASA is really gaining steam ?

  2. Brainbit says:

    RECOMMENDATION 4 Does this mean they want to sell commercial space to China?

    • duheagle says:

      That seems unlikely. China isn’t looking to buy American in any case. One hopes, though, that revised regulations will make it a lot easier to sell things to friendly nations.

    • Daniel Böttger says:

      It means they want to see whether the value of securing rocket tech continues to outweigh the value of being able to export space tech.

      An actual lifting of some of the export restrictions would happen way down the line. This is only a very first step.

      Some will be lobbying hard for this. The UAE in particular would surely love to buy rockets for petrodollars. But I think this will not happen until there’s a serious non-US competitor to SpaceX that would benefit from SpaceX being hampered by these restrictions.

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