Washington, DC — The Commercial Spaceflight Federation praised the work and conclusions of the National Academy of Public Administration’s (NAPA) study released late last week that examined which federal agency should take the lead in coordinating non-military Space Situational Awareness (SSA) and related Space Traffic functions.
NAPA’s report, which was produced at the direction of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2020, identified the Office of Space Commerce within the Department of Commerce as the organization to lead a whole-of-government effort and commercial partnership strategy to dramatically improve U.S. civilian Space Situational Awareness in the face of growing concerns about satellite “traffic” and space debris.
The report also includes an important endorsement to elevate the Office of Space Commerce, including its responsibilities for overseeing commercial remote sensing, to the Office of the Secretary.
“We are pleased to see NAPA’s detailed and thoughtful analysis on the need for a coordinated effort for SSA and Space Traffic related functions. We commend Congress for starting the process of identifying an entity to assume the responsibility of guiding U.S. civil and commercial users, and cooperating with other governments around the world to promote responsible use of the orbital space above Earth,” said Eric Stallmer, CSF President.
“Up until now, only the Defense Department had the responsibility of notifying commercial and international users about potential collisions involving their spacecraft,” added Stallmer.
One of the compelling reasons NAPA chose the Office of Space Commerce was the central role that commercial space safety services can play in addressing what the report calls “the impending crisis with space debris and satellites.” OSC will also work closely with NASA and its unique technical capabilities and FAA’s Office of the Associate Administration for Commercial Space Transportation and its oversight of launch and reentry activities, as well as the Space Force’s existing SSA organization, to deliver the fastest possible and improved SSA to the growing U.S. commercial space sector.
The report is available on the NAPA website.