1.1 Expand Commercial Space Activities

Why is space commerce important?

Space technologies have advanced America's communications, navigation, and weather forecasting abilities and have unlocked a new frontier for entrepreneurship, innovation, and development. Given the significance of space activities, the United States has prioritized the expansion of space programs. By making space more accessible to commercial activity, America will continue to advance scientific knowledge and technology.
The expansion of U.S. commercial space activities will improve the lives of Americans.
  • With the mass production of satellites, the cost of wireless data will decline significantly. Some analysts project that the per-megabyte cost of wireless data will decline to less than 1% of today's levels by 2040. 
  • By supporting American companies operating in space, the United States will remain the premier destination for commercial space activities, a global leader in technological developments, scientific discovery, and humanity's advancement.
  • With additional expansion of commercial space activities, the United States will pave the way for increased civilian involvement in space through space tourism, additional jobs in the space industry, and increased understanding of the world around them.

Strategic 1.1 Objective Progress Update

Throughout FY 2019, the Office of Space Commerce led a campaign to advance industry engagement, advocacy, regulatory streamlining, and policy development and implementation. Staffing expanded to support the Department's role providing space situational awareness (SSA) to commercial operators. Space Situational Awareness is defined as the knowledge and characterization of space objects and their operational environment to support safe, stable, and sustainable space activities. The Office made significant strides in preparation for this role. Significant achievements include:

The Department of Commerce is making progress on fulfilling new Space Policy Directives. On June 30th, 2017, the President issued an Executive Order to revive the National Space Council. Since December 2017, the White House has issued four directives on space policy. 

Wilbur Ross, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, leads a discussion between commercial space industry leaders
The Department of Commerce is committed to encouraging the expansion of the private sector space industry. This video provides insight into the challenges private enterprises face when it comes to expanding into space. The Department of Commerce plans to resolve these issues in partnership with other Federal agencies.

Expansion of the Office of Space Commerce
Space Policy Directives 2 and 3 directly concern the Department of Commerce and its efforts to expand commercial space activities. Click on the links below to learn about all four directives.

Photo of President Trump issuing an Executive Order to revive the National Space Council
Strategic Objective 1.1 in the Department of Commerce's Strategic Plan is to expand commercial space activities. To achieve this objective, the Office of Space Commerce acts as an industry advocate within government, supporting American companies operating in space. The office now has a direct line of reporting to the Secretary and continued to increase capabilities and grow its staff through inter-bureau staff assignments and a Presidential Innovation Fellowship. This has enabled the office to broaden its activities and interactions with the space industry and interagency community including participating in National Space Council meetings. During these meetings, the Department of Commerce shared progress updates regarding implementation of the Space Policy Directives on regulatory reform and space situational awareness. 
Picture of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross attending Office of space commerce discussion

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About the Office of Space Commerce
space.commerce.gov/ - The Office of Space Commerce's website