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SST Committee Approves the American Space SAFE Management Act

Jun 27, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee today approved H.R.6226, the American Space Situational Awareness and Facilitation of Entity Management Act (American Space SAFE Management Act), introduced by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). This bill will establish the Department of Commerce as the civilian agency to provide civil space situational awareness and traffic coordination.

Chairman Smith: “This bill is an important step to secure the United States as the leader in space traffic management and improves the safety of all space operations. The number of commercial satellites in space are predicted to grow from 1,300 active satellites today to more than 10,000 in the next few years. Now is the time to solidify the role of the Department of Commerce in the development of space traffic standards and guidelines. The creation of an open basic data system that combines information from American commercial and government actors, as well as international entities, will provide for the overall safe operation and management of space. This bill also better enables the Department of Defense to focus its resources on national security.”

The bill is cosponsored by Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Rep. Neil Dunn (R-Fla.), Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.), Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), and Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.).

Background:

The American Space SAFE Management Act:

  • Directs NASA to develop a plan for science and technology R&D activities to improve space situational awareness (SSA) and space traffic coordination capabilities
  • Establishes a NASA Center of Civil Space Situational Awareness Science and Technology Excellence
  • Establishes a civilian Space Situational Awareness Program at the Department of Commerce to provide information and services to spacecraft operators
  • Requires a basic set of SSA information and services for no charge and allows fees for additional information and services
  • Promotes opportunities for U.S. private sector SSA data and service providers to participate in and contribute to the Program
  • Establishes an SSA data testbed to provide public access to certain SSA data
  • Provides for NASA technical expertise to be leveraged by the Department of Commerce on a reimbursable basis
  • Directs the Secretary of Commerce to develop voluntary civil space traffic coordination guidelines and facilitate the development of industry standards
  • Creates a five-year space traffic coordination pilot program at the Department of Commerce to facilitate communication, negotiation, and resolution by civil spacecraft operators

Click here for the full text of the bill.

115th Congress