SWF Submits Letter to Congress on Oversight of Commercial Space Activities

Friday, March 24, 2017

On March 8, 2017, the House Subcommittee on Space of the United States Congress held a hearing on "Regulating Space: Innovation, Liberty, and International Obligations." The purpose of the hearing was to discuss potential changes to the licensing and regulatory framework by which the United States provides oversight of commercial space activities. A key theme of the hearing was the extent of U.S. obligations under the 1967 Outer Space Treaty for providing authorization and continuing supervision of its private sector space activities, and how those obligations balance with promoting growth and innovation in commercial space.

In response to the hearing, SWF submitted a letter for the record outlining our position on the subject. The letter outlined SWF's strong interest in promoting the development of new and innovative space capabilities that could yield great benefits on Earth, but also mitigating the potential sustainability challenges created by massive growth in the use of space. The letter argued that the public policy decision on he U.S. oversight framework needed to be based not only on the legal interpretation of the Outer Space Treaty, but also on economic, national security, and geopolitical considerations. The letter strongly recommended that the United States use this opportunity to enhance its leadership role in the international community on space governance.

In addition, the letter discussed five priorities for revising the U.S. oversight framework:

  • Reduce national security restrictions
  • Modernize and streamline the licensing process
  • Provide more certainty to private sector innovators
  • Enhance the data and services available to make responsible decisions on orbit
  • Continue U.S. engagement in international discussions on best practices and
    transparency and confidence building measures

The full letter can be read here

Last updated on March 24, 2017