Whatever happened to reforming space traffic management? – Politico

Posted: June 20, 2020 at 10:12 am

All that talk of reforming space traffic management has crashed and burned, but there is still optimism Congress will act, says a leading authority on space regulations.

Why a new space economy could be the secret to economic recovery and the Space Force could play a big role.

Startup Space Perspective is setting up shop at Kennedy Space Center for tourist flights.

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A message from Northrop Grumman:

Since 2014, the Antares rocket has been changing life aboard the International Space Station. In conjunction with the Cygnus Spacecraft, Antares ferries life-supporting cargo 250 miles above Earths surface, so our pioneers in space can continue to define possible. Learn More

TRAFFIC JAM: Two years after President Donald Trump signed a directive to overhaul how the nation tracks objects in space, one of its biggest proposals is stuck in congressional gridlock, says Andrew DUva, the president of consulting firm Providence Access Company and an expert on satellite regulations. Trump wanted the Commerce Department to take the mission over from the Department of Defense, but Congress has not authorized or funded a shift in responsibilities.

We have to have a lead agency for safety, DUva tells us in this weeks POLITICO Space Q&A. We also need to fund this. The Defense Department systems and capabilities were not designed for nor are they optimized for this safety mission. Theyre optimized for national security.

But that doesnt mean the government will start from scratch. Instead, DUva said the Commerce Department should build on advancements made in industry on how to combine data from multiple sources to provide a common picture of whats happening in orbit. The Commerce Department and U.S. industry can leverage the foundational space situational awareness activities that the government is already doing, add some commercial and academic capabilities, add in the ability to take in information from satellite operators and end up with a sum that's much greater than the parts, he said.

IS SPACE THE KEY ECONOMIC RECOVERY? Thats the view of retired Air Force Col. Michael Coyote Smith, a professor of strategic space studies at the Air Command and Staff College at the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala.

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative for America and its allies to not only get their economies back up and running, but to generate an excess of capital in order to bring their manufacturing jobs home and to pay down their skyrocketing debts, he writes in a new POLITICO op-ed Such an economic boom is unlikely without some kind of extraordinary commercial expansion. Space offers such an opportunity.

Smith, one of the Air Forces leading futurists, cites a historical precedent: Christopher Columbus discovery of the New World. Those European monarchies who took the additional financial risk to send their explorers and merchant fleets to the New World, guarded by their navies, achieved three things: they secured resources to pay off their debts and expand their wealth, they denied such relief to their enemies, and they became superpowers, dominating geopolitics for centuries, he explains.

And he sees a major role for the Space Force but only if it evolves beyond the narrow vision of Pentagon leaders. The fledgling U.S. Space Force must develop quickly into far more than mere support for terrestrial warfighters, he argues. It must move beyond the narrow vision of the Department of the Air Force to become a navy on the new ocean of space; protecting commerce, enforcing the rule of law, and providing safety of navigation services for all lawful and non-hostile users of space.

Related: NASA, the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will unveil a dashboard of satellite data showing impacts on the environment and socioeconomic activity caused by the global response to the coronavirus on June 25, announced NASA on Thursday.

NEW SPACE TOURISM TENANT: Space Perspective, a space tourism startup, announced Thursday it has established a launch operations center at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a major step in its plans to take passengers and research payloads to the edge of space aboard its Spaceship Neptune, a space balloon.

Were committed to fundamentally changing the way people have access to space both to perform much-needed research to benefit life on Earth and to affect how we view and connect with our planet, said Space Perspective Founder and Co-CEO Jane Poynter. Today, it is more crucial than ever to see Earth as a planet, a spaceship for all humanity and our global biosphere.

Eric Stallmer, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, called the development a great opportunity for the Space Coast as a fresh capability will now be offered in the realm of space tourism and research.

The Neptune can take up to eight passengers on a six-hour journey to the edge of space.

TOP DOC I: NEW PENTAGON SPACE STRATEGY: The Pentagon rolled out its new Defense Space Strategy on Wednesday outlining three goals: to maintain space superiority, provide support to military operations and ensure space stability by cooperating with allies and private industry.

The document replaces a 2011 version crafted by the Obama administration and will set the Pentagons space priorities for the next decade. Stephen Kitay, the deputy assistant secretary for space, said the document is designed to shift the culture at the Defense Department from approaching space as a support function to approaching space as a warfighting domain.

Related: DoD Space Strategy Focuses On Allies, Commercial; Where Was Intel Community? via Breaking Defense.

TOP DOC II: DIFFICULT CHANGES: The National Security Space Association, an industry group representing a series of established and new space companies, this week released a new report, Acquiring Space Capabilities with Agility and Discipline at the Speed of Relevance, that lays out 16 recommendations for speeding up the development of space systems.

The need to outpace the rapidly evolving threat and sustain the U.S. comparative advantage in space is an urgent matter that requires the national security space enterprise to evolve the way it does business, says the report. This will involve necessary and difficult changes to both culture and operating models at every level of the U.S. government and industry.

Related: Pentagon not ready for space flight, experts say, via Foreign Policy

Joel Montalbano was named this week as the program manager for the International Space Station. Montalbano has served as deputy program manager since 2012.

Vernon Thorp is now director of global commercial sales at United Launch Alliance. He was previously ULAs commercial program manager.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Congratulations to Byron Hood, a senior vice president at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, for being the first to correctly answer that Pluto was named after the Roman god of the underworld by Venetia Burney Phair, a young British girl, in 1930.

This weeks question: Sally Ride became the first American woman in space 37 years ago. How many days did Ride spend in space on the historic mission? The first person to email [emailprotected] gets bragging rights and a shoutout in next weeks newsletter!

A message from Northrop Grumman:

Since 2014, the Antares rocket has been changing life aboard the International Space Station. It boosts our Cygnus spacecraft into orbit to ferry important cargo like scientific experiments, food, and critical instruments to keep the station running. It has proven time and time again that its a reliable way to support our pioneers in space. Learn more about Antares capabilities. Learn more

NASAs Kathy Leuders officially begins as head of human spaceflight program: Florida Today

New agreement will allow American companies to use British spaceports: U.K. Space Agency

Alaska officials say U.S. Space Command HQ should be in Anchorage: Air Force Times

Commerce secretary talks up space business: The Philadelphia Inquirer

Russia space agency urged Pentagon to avoid space arms race: Tass News Agency

SpaceX wants a flotilla of launch pads off the Texas coast: Popular Mechanics

THURSDAY: Gen. John Raymond, chief of space operations in the Space Force, speaks at a virtual event hosted by the Center for a New American Security.

THURSDAY: The Aerospace Corporation hosts a virtual event on stewardship of orbits around the moon.

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Whatever happened to reforming space traffic management? - Politico

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