Dissatisfied with the length and content of proposed rules to streamline commercial launch and reentry regulations, industry officials say they will ask for an extension of an ongoing public review period for those rules.
With Congress set to approve a Federal Aviation Administration bill with some commercial space provisions, those in the industry are hoping for action on other bills before the end of this year.
The American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act takes a number of important steps to provide regulatory certainty for emerging commercial space applications; and to implement the United States’ international obligation to provide authorization and supervision for its private sector actors.
For an administration that likes to play up even the smallest space policy milestone, the signing of Space Policy Directive 2 on May 24 almost flew under the radar.
Backed by a set of recommendations endorsed by the National Space Council, the Secretary of Commerce says he is moving ahead with efforts to improve the regulatory environment for commercial space.
When members of the National Space Council meet this week, they are expected to discuss, among other issues, regulatory reforms intended to promote growth of the commercial spaceflight industry.
The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is "extremely optimistic" the National Space Council's agenda will include "a renewed commitment to the public-private partnerships."
After the election, the early signals from the Trump transition and beachhead teams across the various departments and agencies involved in space activities largely echoed that same message of support. However, at least two of the recent decisions made by the Trump White House put in place policies that, as currently formulated, could hinder continued growth in commercial space.
U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), a member of the House Appropriations Committee and co-sponsor of space resources legislation that passed last year, said Nov. 17 he wants the government to do a better job collaborating with the space industry on making new regulations that affect the industry’s growth.
Proposals to develop commercial space stations in low Earth orbit that could serve as successors to the International Space Station face both an uncertain regulatory environment and questions about their economic viability, according to both those planning such stations and those who might regulate them.
Members of an industry group that advises the U.S. government on commercial space matters are in broad agreement that export restrictions on commercial human spacecraft should be eased, but sharply disagreed at a recent meeting on how to seek those changes.
With less than six months to go before a limitation on regulating U.S. commercial human spaceflight companies expires, industry and government officials have yet to find agreement on whether to extend the current arrangement or, if not, how to replace it.
A new wave of small-satellite constellations for communications and remote sensing applications is attracting growing amounts of venture capital funding, but regulators worry they will struggle to keep up with the licenses these systems require.
The astonishing increase in the number of small satellites being launched singly or by the dozen has caused friction between international regulators on the one side and, on the other, satellite developers and some national governments that look the other way instead of enforcing the rules.