The proposal, similar to the proposal for the fiscal year 2020, requested to combine the Office of Space Commerce with the Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs (CRSRA) office and move the combined office from the NOAA, where both offices currently reside, to directly under the Secretary of Commerce
Fremont, CA: The Commerce Department has once again requested for a substantial budget increase for its Office of Space Commerce to work on space traffic management activities after the Congress rejected a similar request last year. Some parts of the department's fiscal year 2021 budget proposal were not released along with the rest of the White House's budget request. The section for Departmental Management, which covers the Office of Space Commerce, was released a few days later after the White House's budget requests were put in.
The proposal, similar to the proposal for the fiscal year 2020, requested to combine the Office of Space Commerce with the Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs (CRSRA) office and move the combined office from the NOAA, where both offices currently reside, to directly under the Secretary of Commerce. The Commerce Department has requested for USD 15 million for the combined office in 2021, USD 5 million more than the 2020 request. Congress, however, rejected both the proposed spending and the request to combine the offices, giving CRSRA USD 1.8 million and the Office of Space Commerce USD 2.3 million.
According to the Commerce Department, the additional funds would be directed towards work on space traffic management in accordance with the language in Space Policy Directive 3, leading the department to take over civil space traffic management responsibilities from the Defense Department. “This request provides the Office of Space Commerce (OSC) with the ability to respond to current and future National Space Policy Directives,” stated the budget document.
The document identifies explicitly both work on space traffic management and new directives to streamline regulations and promote commercial use of space. The funding will also be used to hire 13 people to the office, doubling its current size. Besides, the additional funds will also support work on technical prototypes that will advance industry engagement and support a critical informational platform for space situational awareness. Apart from these, the budget mentioned other priorities like establishing an open architecture data repository for space situational awareness data and partnerships with industry on how to develop warnings to limit the potential impacts to space operations.
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