Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine how China is seeking to shape the governance of space activities. [Full Report]
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
China’s actions in asserting sovereignty over the disputed South China Sea could serve as a model by which that nation would claim extraterrestrial resources and consolidate its control over key space assets, a new report to the U.S. Congress warned.
“Contrary to international norms governing the exploration and commercial exploitation of space, statements from senior Chinese officials signal Beijing’s belief in its right to claim use of space-based resources in the absence of a clear legal framework specifically regulating mining in space,” according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 report.
THE HAGUE (Luxembourg Space Agency PR) — Shortly before the release of their final results, we spoke to three members of the Hague International Space Resources Governance Working Group.
This international working group, with representatives from governments, industry, space agencies and academics from around the world, was set up in 2016 with the backing from the Dutch Government. It also received funding from several other private and public entities, including the Luxembourg Government.
WASHINGTON, July 17, 2019 (Potomac Institute PR) — The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies (PIPS) calls for a Coordinated National Space Strategy. Since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, the impact of space-based infrastructure has increased year after year. Today, more than ever before, the benefits brought from orbit pervade every level of society: GPS enables over $1 billion of economic activity per day, NOAA satellites collect weather data to warn of upcoming storms and track long term climate data, communications satellites provide worldwide, irreplaceable coverage for both civilian and military operations, and much more. These industries touch on nearly every department, agency, and office of the federal government and impact each American every day.
BRUSSELS (European Union PR) — The EU is designing its space policy programme for the years 2021-2027. EU ambassadors meeting in Coreper today confirmed the common understanding reached by the Romanian Presidency with the European Parliament on the draft regulation on an EU space programme.
The common understanding excludes financial and other horizontal aspects of the programme, which will depend on the future overall agreement on the next multiannual financial framework.
Last week, we took a look at the significant increase in NASA’s budget for FY 2019. In this story, we will examine the budget increases for the Commerce Department — which manages the nation’s weather satellites — and the Department of Transportation, which oversees commercial launches. We will also take a look how the White House’s National Space Council fared.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
NOAA’s satellite programs received $1,45 billion, which is an increase of $55 million over FY 2018. The bulk of the funding is designated for the GOES-R, Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and Polar Follow-on (PFO) programs. The amounts include:
WASHINGTON, DC (Commerce Department PR) — Today, U.S Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross praised President Donald J. Trump’s signing of Space Policy Directive 3 (SPD-3), America’s first National Space Traffic Management Policy. The policy acknowledges the rapidly increasing volume and diversity of commercial space activity and announces that the Department of Commerce should be the new civil agency interface for space traffic management (STM) and space situational awareness (SSA).
“I commend President Trump and the National Space Council for reaching yet another important milestone as we work to ensure U.S. commercial leadership in space,” said Secretary Ross. “I look forward to working closely with DoD and other departments and agencies as we meet the challenge of increased commercial and civil space traffic.”
WASHINGTON (Commerce Department PR) — Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross praised President Trump’s signing of Space Policy Directive – 2 (SPD-2), which directs the Department of Commerce and other agencies to implement reforms of the U.S. commercial space regulatory framework that will unshackle private space industry. The President’s approval brings into force several recommendations made by the National Space Council in February that will ensure America remains the flag of choice for space commerce.
“Under President Trump’s leadership, and the National Space Council is making great strides toward ensuring that the U.S. is the leader in space for generations to come,” said Secretary Ross. “I commend Vice President Pence and the rest of the Council for their hard work.”
Space Policy Directive-2, Streamlining Regulations on Commercial Use of Space
MEMORANDUM FOR THE VICE PRESIDENT THE SECRETARY OF STATE THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE THE SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY THE SECRETARY OF LABOR THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE THE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET THE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION THE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY THE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR HOMELAND SECURITY AND COUNTERTERRORISM THE CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF
SUBJECT: Streamlining Regulations on Commercial Use of Space
Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of the executive branch to be prudent and responsible when spending taxpayer funds, and to recognize how government actions, including Federal regulations, affect private resources. It is therefore important that regulations adopted and enforced by the executive branch promote economic growth; minimize uncertainty for taxpayers, investors, and private industry; protect national security, public-safety, and foreign policy interests; and encourage American leadership in space commerce.
WASHINGTON (Potomac Institute PR) — The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is pleased to present a new report, Make America Great Again in Space. The report recommends bold new policy to ensure US leadership in space in the realms of commercial enterprise, defense, and intelligence.
Driving American Enterprise and National Security in Space
Make America Great Again in Space examines the essential role of the US Government in laying the foundations for enterprise and economic development, by investing in infrastructure and R&D. It outlines the history of the space industry of today and advocates for continued investment in infrastructure and research needed to support commercial development of space.
WASHINGTON, DC (White House PR) — On Thursday, October 5, Vice President Mike Pence will host the first meeting of the National Space Council at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. The meeting will bring together all aspects and sectors of the national space enterprise for the first time in a quarter century.
“Leading the Next Frontier: An Event with the National Space Council” will include testimonials from expert witnesses who represent the sectors of the space industry: Civil Space, Commercial Space, and National Security Space.
Date: Thursday, October 5, 2017 Time: 10 a.m. EDT
Location: National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway Chantilly, VA 20151
Vice President and newly minted Chairman of the revived National Space Council Mike Pence visited NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Thursday where he gave a speech promising a return to the moon and boots on Mars.
When? How? What will it cost? And how are we going to pay for it?
Pence didn’t get into that level of granularity. In fact, he didn’t get into very many details at all during his address to KSC employees.
Pence’s speech consisted of a lot of platitudes delivered with attitude and lots of latitude as to what it all meant in practice.
If you watched it and were baffled, welcome to the club. That seems to be the consensus of the media coverage I’ve seen so far among reporters who cover space.
SWINDON, UK (UKSA PR) — The Space Industry Bill has been introduced into the House of Lords, marking the first step in the process to create new laws and a regulatory framework to enable exciting new technologies to operate safely from the UK.
The Bill, which was outlined in the Queen’s Speech, is a clear signal of the UK’s commitment to enabling commercial spaceflight from UK spaceports, and a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy to ensure the UK businesses capture a share of this emerging global market.
Aoki Setsuko argues that Japan’s Space Activities Act will bolster the country’s commercial space sector.
On November 16, 2016, Japan’s Space Activities Act was promulgated, establishing a system for licensing the launching of rockets and the operation of satellites by private-sector companies. Almost 20 Western and other countries have already enacted this sort of legislation; Japan is a relative latecomer in this respect….
Now that Japan has adopted its Space Activities Act, start-ups are not left wondering what agency they should contact but can go in advance to discuss their plans with officials at a specially designated counter in the Cabinet Office.
The new Japanese law also provides government support in the provision of financial guarantees required by commercial space launch operators, such as by arranging third-party liability insurance coverage. The required coverage is calculated on the basis of the maximum probable loss estimated in line with the rocket type and the payload content; in the case of damages in excess of this coverage, the law provides that the government is to pay for the residual damages up to a certain limit. This is similar to arrangements that have been adopted in the United States and France, although the French government sets no limit on payments.
In addition, Japan’s Space Activities Act provides that the launch operator bears liability for accident damages even if they are due to problems in the payload. This channeling of liability would seem to be disadvantageous to launch operators, but it can be expected to enhance the competitive position of the Japanese companies providing this service, because it reassures customers around the world who are seeking to have their satellites put into orbit. France is the only other country that has adopted a similar provision.
Alongside technological development and financing, the design of the legal and regulatory system is a key determinant of success or failure in space business. The new Space Activities Act is sure to give a major boost to this business in Japan, which has both technological strength and great potential. Within the next few years we can expect to see start-ups launching small rockets carrying miniaturized satellites into orbit.
The head of China’s largest search engine wants China to reform its space regulations.
Baidu Inc. Chief Executive Officer Robin Li, whose company is competing with Uber Technologies Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo to commercialize self-driving technology, wants Beijing to take the lead in getting Chinese enterprises to collaborate on research and craft a regulatory framework. His proposal was included among a raft of others he will put forth at an annual meeting of regulators this week, in a wish-list that includes a dream of seeing a Chinese private space-exploration leader — a la Elon Musk’s SpaceX….
Li also lamented the state of China’s space industry. As with self-driving cars, he wants Beijing to enact policies to encourage private investment in rocket and satellite production and launch technology.
“We need to slowly resolve the current complexity of obtaining approvals, the closed nature of the market, the lack of competitiveness and other issues,” he wrote. “We need to attract talent and encourage innovation, to lift our nation’s aerospace industry’s competitiveness on an international stage.”