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Washington, DC — The Commercial Spaceflight Federation today praised the Department of Commerce’s release this week of a rulemaking that dramatically reforms the U.S. government’s regulation of the U.S. commercial remote sensing industry.

“We wish to thank Secretary Wilbur Ross, the Office of Space Commerce and its Director Kevin O’Connell, and NOAA’s Office of Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs for publishing this forward-leaning, streamlined set of rules for this growing and important industry,”  declared Eric Stallmer, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. “And we again thank Vice President Pence, the National Space Council, and its Executive Secretary Scott Pace for issuing Space Policy Directive 2 two years ago, which focused agencies across the government to minimize regulatory burden and streamline oversight.”

Up until now, the U.S. remote sensing industry has been governed by legislation and regulations written in the early 1990’s.  While capabilities and technologies have progressed over the decades, companies dealt with these outdated regulations, often prohibiting new technologies and disincentivising the industry.  License applications regularly took too long to authorize with little to no transparency into the decision making process. With these revised regulations, comes a new era for the remote sensing industry and as new licenses are granted, we hope to see these principles put into practice.

“Thank you to the Commerce Department for developing these new rules that reduce bureaucratic restrictions on industry so they can innovate faster, compete effectively internationally, and enable new applications for satellite observations of the Earth,” said Stallmer.  “CSF has fought hard for several years to promote legislative and regulatory reforms that would streamline these rules.  We believe that these new rules from the Department of Commerce are an important step forward to enable U.S. companies to compete in a growing international marketplace while protecting America’s national security concerns.”


Washington, DC —

“The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) commends NASA’s selection of multiple Commercial Human Landing System (HLS) awardees, which recognizes public-private partnerships as fundamental to achieving NASA’s ambitious Artemis Program goals. These awards build on the significant private investment and technological advancements being made by the commercial space industry, and represent an important step toward establishing a sustainable, long-term presence on the surface of the Moon and ultimately going to Mars. CSF’s more than 80 member organizations are proud to partner with NASA to provide innovative solutions to advance the state of the art, enhance safety, and improve affordability in space exploration. We look forward to continuing to bring the best of commercial industry to support America’s leadership in space.”



Washington, DC– The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is pleased to see that the FCC has listened to industry concerns and decided to delay final consideration of several complicated aspects of the proposed Orbital Debris rules during today’s FCC meeting.  These proposed regulations have far reaching impacts particularly on the small satellite and new space community. 
During today’s meeting, the FCC decided to delay consideration of some of the orbital debris mitigation measures by moving them to a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) and inviting additional comments by industry and federal agencies.  Topics that will be under further consideration in the FNPRM include: mitigation measures related to the probability of accidental explosions; collision risk and casualty risk for satellite constellations on a system-wide basis; requiring maneuverability for satellites located above a certain altitude; limiting post-mission orbital lifetime; possible indemnification requirements; and the use of a surety bond tied to post-mission disposal.
CSF looks forward to continuing to work with FCC and subject matter experts in various US agencies (including NASA and DOC) to ensure that future regulations protect the space environment while not undermining the innovation and competitiveness of US companies. 

Washington, DC — “The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) commends NASA’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget request, which outlines an ambitious national space program and recognizes public-private partnerships as fundamental to achieving these challenging goals across NASA’s portfolio. This budget would enable a sustainable and comprehensive exploration architecture with key elements including commercializing low Earth orbit, establishing a sustainable, long-term presence on the surface of the Moon with commercial companies, and committing to sending American astronauts to Mars. CSF’s more than 80 member organizations are proud to partner with NASA to provide innovative solutions to advance the state of the art, enhance safety, and improve affordability in space exploration. We look forward to continuing to bring the best of commercial industry to support America’s leadership in space.”


Washington, DC — “As written, the NASA Authorization bill would not create a sustainable space exploration architecture and would instead set NASA up for failure by eliminating commercial participation and competition in key programs. As NASA and the White House have repeatedly stated, any sustainable space exploration effort must bring together the best of government and commercial industry to achieve a safe and affordable 21st century space enterprise. We look forward to working with members of the House Space Subcommittee to address a number of concerns with the bill.”



January 9, 2020

Washington D.C. – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is excited to announce the winners of the 2020 Commercial Space Leadership Awards in recognition of leading innovators, investors, educators, journalists, and policymakers for their significant contributions to the success of the commercial space industry. The United States is undergoing a renaissance in space, and the commercial industry plays a pivotal role in this major transformation. 

The 2020 winners are:

Higher Orbits: The Patti Grace Smith STEM Award Winner

Higher Orbits is recognized for its leadership as an educator committed to scientific excellence and the expansion of knowledge for the next generation of commercial space pioneers. Higher Orbits has directly reached more than 1,200 students with an intensive 2-3 day program where kids, many underprivileged, are able to work with an Astronaut. They launched nine student experiments to the International Space Station and recently began flying student suborbital payloads. Higher Orbits plans to fly at least four more student experiments into space in 2020.


Christian Davenport: Excellence in Commercial Space Journalism Award

Christian Davenport, The Washington Post space reporter, is recognized for his reporting expertise and leadership in publishing pivotal articles and trend pieces on commercial space, further expanding public awareness of commercial space, while demonstrating the highest levels of journalistic integrity. Davenport’s seminal book, “The Space Barons,” is an outstanding example of Davenport’s years of reporting experience and access to the space companies created by Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson, and their role in transforming the business of modern spaceflight. Davenport’s stories have had a significant impact on raising awareness  about the importance and advancement of the commercial space industry.


Virgin Galactic: Commercial Space Pioneer Award Winner

Virgin Galactic is recognized for their outstanding technical contributions over the past year that has advanced the technologies and business of enabling commercial access to space. In 2019, Virgin Galactic successfully flew the first flight from American soil on an American spacecraft with three people, the first such flight since 2011. The pilots of this flight were decorated with astronaut wings. In addition, Virgin Galactic went public with the first purely space tourism company with a successful IPO. Both of these successes mark major milestones for commercial space tourism and will raise the profile on the commercial space industry and the importance of democratizing space for all. 


The Honorable Martin Heinrich, U.S. Senator: Commercial Space Policy Award Winner: 

Senator Martin Heinrich is recognized for his leadership as a policymaker who has made significant and lasting contributions over the past year to the advancement of commercial space policy. Through his work on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Heinrich has been an influential voice and critical proponent of small satellite missions such as the Space Rapid Capabilities Office, the Space Test Program, the Space Vehicles Directorate, and the SMC Advanced Systems and Development Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base. Additionally, Senator Heinrich made significant contributions to the Senate NDAA on issues relating to commercial space launch, commercial spaceports, and the national security enterprise. 


NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Moon to Mars Team: Commercial Space Integration Award Winner: 

NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Moon to Mars team is recognized for its use of innovative commercial approaches to significantly advance the government’s objectives over the past year. The Advanced Exploration Systems Moon to Mars team have worked in an accelerated fashion to deliver on national priorities with commercial partnerships at the core of the program. In fulfilling Artemis program requirements with commercially developed and procured systems, the Advanced Exploration Systems Moon to Mars team has laid a fundamental foundation for commercial space activities beyond Earth orbit to the Moon and beyond.


Dylan Taylor: Commercial Space Business & Finance Award

Dylan Taylor is recognized for his business and financial leadership in commercial space activities that has benefited the industry as a whole. Taylor is a leading investor, financier and benefactor of commercial space activities. Taylor is currently the Chairman and CEO of Voyager Space Holdings, a multi-national holding company focused directly on supporting the growth of commercial space. As a global business leader, philanthropist and pioneer in the space exploration industry, Taylor has invested in over 40 commercial space ventures since 2010, more than any other individual investor. He is also the founder of Space for Humanity, a global nonprofit dedicated to the democratization of space, which is widely considered one of the leading non-profits in the industry.


“Like no other field of endeavor, the exploration and development of space is the synergetic result of a diverse range of contributions. The Commercial Space Leadership Awards highlight contributions and accomplishments in creating a successful commercial space enterprise.  It is an honor and quite humbling to recognize the accomplishments and success of this year’s winners.” said Taber MacCallum, CSF Chairman.


“CSF established these awards to recognize the accomplishments and commitments by individuals and companies that have led to the commercial space industry’s continued success,” said CSF President Eric Stallmer. “We continued to be impressed by the quantity and quality of the nominations that we received and by the outstanding achievements and great strides that have been made in this incredible industry that we have the privilege to work in.”


Nominations were submitted by CSF members, and winners were chosen by a panel of judges consisting of its members representing all levels of CSF membership. This year’s winners will be inducted in the new CSF Commercial Space Hall of Fame and recognized at the 23rd annual FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference in Washington, DC on January 29 and 30.


About CSF: The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is the leading voice for the commercial spaceflight industry. Founded in 2006, CSF and its 80+ members are laying the foundation for a sustainable space economy and democratizing access to space for scientists, students, civilians, and businesses. CSF members are responsible for the creation of thousands of high-tech jobs driven by billions of dollars in investment. Through the promotion of technology innovation, CSF is guiding the expansion of Earth’s economic sphere, bolstering U.S. leadership in aerospace, and inspiring America’s next generation of engineers and explorers.

Washington, DC — The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) applauds NASA’s Planetary Protection Independent Review Board (PPIRB) report and its recommendations to modernize and streamline NASA’s planetary protection policies. Key among the PPIRB’s recommendations is to ease the pursuit of new planetary mission opportunities and the participation of new players, particularly in the private sector. The early adoption and full implementation of these recommendations will increase the number and variety of missions flown and enable greater science and exploration of the Solar System. CSF recognizes the important principles behind planetary protection and supports the modernization of frameworks to enable the responsible exploration of areas of high astrobiological potential by both government and private sector missions.

“As NASA prepares for more frequent missions to celestial bodies for humans and research payloads, including to the Moon and Mars through commercial partnerships, it is important that the U.S. Government’s policies encourage and enable these missions,” said Eric Stallmer, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.  “The PPIRB’s report is an important step towards achieving that goal. We encourage NASA to adopt and implement the report’s recommendations and look forward to continuing to work with NASA, the Administration, and Congress to enable America’s continued public and private sector leadership in space exploration throughout the Solar System.”

The PPIRB was tasked by Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Space Science to conduct a 3-month independent look at updating biological contamination guidelines developed by COSPAR in light of current plans for Mars sample return, emerging capabilities for private sector robotic missions, eventual human missions to Mars, and the exploration of the icy moons of the outer planets. Numerous other major findings and recommendations, along with numerous supporting findings and recommendations, are detailed in the report, which can be found here.


Washington, DC — The Commercial Spaceflight Federation applauds NASA’s selection of 25 promising space technologies through Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Flight Opportunities program (FOP).

The Flight Opportunities program enables low-cost access to the spaceflight environment for students, researchers, and technologists on commercial low-gravity simulating aircraft, high-altitude balloons and reusable suborbital rockets. The selected technologies will play a key role in NASA building out its technology roadmap towards commercializing LEO and supporting the Artemis program.

“As a growing number of commercial space companies are providing low-cost and frequent access to suborbital space for humans and research payloads, it is important to fully utilize the Flight Opportunities program to realize its game-changing power,” said Eric Stallmer, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.  “This award announcement is another important step towards achieving that goal. We heartily applaud and thank Administrator Bridenstine and his STMD & FOP leadership team at NASA, Jim Reuter and Christopher Baker, for their support and partnership.”


On Tuesday, October 8th, SpaceNews published as part of its daily briefing an article about FAA’s efforts to reform its launch and reentry licensing regulations. Commercial Spaceflight Federation leadership was not contacted in advance of the article being published, and the article erroneously characterizes CSF’s and its member companies’ position on FAA’s proposed licensing regulations.

“CSF and our member companies strongly support – and always have supported – regulations that protect the lives and property of the uninvolved public.  At the same time, we pursue the goal of streamlining the licensing process to help the commercial space sector grow and innovate, continuously improving its capabilities and its safety,” said CSF president Eric Stallmer. “Any other characterization of CSF’s position is disingenuous, misleading, and false.”

CSF specifically corrects the following misstatements in the referenced SpaceNews article:

CSF’s position is exactly the opposite.  FAA’s existing regulations currently are divided into separate sections for expendable launch vehicles, reusable launch vehicles, and reentry vehicles. CSF strongly supports streamlining these disparate sections into one licensing regime that is applicable to all launch and reentry vehicles, regardless of architecture. This was an important directive from the Administration in Space Policy Directive-2 and CSF wholly supports this effort.

CSF understands that FAA and industry are under great time pressures to finalize this rulemaking.  No one is more eager than CSF’s members to see this reform effort completed and new rules implemented that improve the safety and success of the industry.  After all, it was CSF that initiated discussions of potential reforms with the FAA two and a half years ago.   FAA can meet an aggressive timeline without compromising the substance of the new rules, and that has been CSF’s position since the beginning of this effort.  Most importantly, there is absolutely no connection between the timing of FAA’s new regulations and the return of U.S. astronauts to the Moon or Mars.  The new rules do not touch FAA’s human spaceflight regulations, and FAA’s current rules do not prevent flight of American astronauts from U.S. soil.

CSF thanks former Congressman LoBiondo for his service and continuing interest on this topic, but found it important to correct the Congressman’s statements about the position of CSF’s member companies. Those companies comprise the vast majority of FAA licensed activities in this industry and they best understand the important implications of these new rules.  CSF and its members look forward to supporting FAA’s efforts to finalize this rulemaking in a manner that prioritizes safety, promotes technological advancements, and streamlines the licensing process.

For those interested in an accurate and more detailed explanation of CSF’s position on the regulatory reform, please click here for CSF’s official comments.


Washington, DC — The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) congratulates the College of Engineering & Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder on the grand opening of their new $100 million, 175,000-square feet flagship Aerospace Engineering Sciences complex that will help inspire the next generation of space and aeronautics leaders.

In addition to providing world-class learning spaces, the state-of-the-art building provides students, researchers and faculty access to cutting-edge technologies and laboratories that strengthen CU Boulder’s position as one of the nation’s leaders in aerospace.

“This will be a place in which our entire aerospace community can come together around education and research for the benefit of the industry, the state and the nation.” said Bobby Braun, the University of Colorado Boulder’s Dean of Engineering and Applied Science.

With Colorado being home to numerous commercial space and aerospace companies, the college is positioning itself as one of the premier talent pipelines for those seeking a career in aerospace.

“This new CU aerospace complex is a hub where industry can meet our students directly and prepare them for the challenges of tomorrow.” said Braun.