Changes are coming for the commercial space sector.
Commercial space will receive a “new rules framework” soon, the Biden-Harris administration pledged Friday (Aug. 12) at a NASA visitor center.
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, also the chair of the National Space Council, said the council will convene again on Sept. 9 to go over a partnership between regulatory agencies and the private sector.
“It is a convening, with the preparation for an operating meeting, is my point,” Harris said in livestreamed remarks from the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, California.
While providing few information regarding what regulations she wished to look at, Harris said the guidelines are “simply just outdated. These were written for an area industry of the final century.”
Her remarks came soon after completing a tour of commercial space companies in the complex, which also hosts people to advertise the nearby NASA Ames Research Center.
Related: NASA, private companies depend on market demand for future space stations after ISS (opens in new tab)
The regulations-focused announcement will come in the days following the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) pledged to look at in-space manufacturing’s potential to handle (or increase space debris), and means of regulating that.
Simultaneously, NASA is in the first stages of developing commercial space stations, and discussed progress at a conference the other day with the many partners. NASA selectedAxiom Spaceto generate the initial commercially developed module for the ISS, and three others will work on commercial space stations following a December 2021 NASA announcement regarding commercial LEO destinations: Nanoracks, Northrop Grumman, andBlue Origin, which partnered with Sierra Space.
Private space tourism and private commercial missions may also be active, with recent launches including Blue Origin’s sixth human spaceflight the other day and the initial research-focused mission by Axiom Space, called Ax-1, in April.
On the regulatory side, where Biden-Harris will focus first isn’t clear. Various space activities are governed by way of a selection of actors, including (however, not limited by) the FCC for communications, the Federal Aviation Administration for suborbital spaceflights for tourists and NASA for orbital space research.
International space law itself is complex, stemming from the SPACE Treaty that governs behavior for the countries who to remain to it and in so doing, represent the private launching companies of these nation.
The Biden administration’s last major action regarding space occurred just days ago, once the U.S. president signed a bill that authorized NASA to increase U.S. participation in the International Space Station to 2030 to in large part, support an evergrowing commercial space sector in low-Earth orbit.
I’ll convene leaders from across our Administration for the second National Space Council meeting on September 9. This meeting will build on our whole-of-government method of ensure space activities create opportunities that benefit the American people and the planet.August 12, 2022
At the very least various other countries will have to to remain to the extension, however, and that will not include Russia because the country plans to withdraw at some time after 2024 to pour resources into an independent Russian space station.
Harris didn’t make reference to the Biden signing NASA’s authorization bill into law in her speech, but did indicate the forthcoming Artemis 1 launch to the moon (scheduled for Aug. 29) as something she actually is watching. “We’re very worked up about that,” she said, repeating the pledge that the Artemis program will “will return American astronauts to the moon, like the first woman and person of color.”
Harris’ first meeting chairing the National Space Council occurred on Dec. 1, 2021, where the vice-president seemed to emphasize climate change as a focus of the Biden administration.
“In this new era, we should see all of the ways that space can benefit Earth. We should see all of the ways that space can benefit individuals of our nation and of most humanity,” Harris said. “This perspective is central to your are a council because, while exploration of space defined the 20th century, the chance of space must guide our work in the 21st.”
Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is really a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to greatly help others explore the universe. Elizabeth’s on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from the simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada’s Carleton University. Elizabeth can be a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got thinking about space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, but still really wants to be an astronaut someday.