The chairman of the Senate Commerce introduced a bill act on October 21. This was intending to give the commerce department some space traffic management responsibilities formally. The funding that was supposed to carry out the work remained uncertain. The bill’s main purpose was to allow the commerce department to collect space situational awareness information from the United States government and other foreign commercial bodies. It would as well provide the required data to the commercial bodies and the government.
The office of space commerce would lead the data provision work. The process of promoting the office to a bureau has been proposed in other legislation in the past years, but it has never been implemented nor initiated. Some of the space Act bill’s roles would be to empower the department of commerce to track debris and issue some collision warnings through a process of leveraging partnership and technical expertise with other private sectors.
This legislation act would greatly help keep the low earth orbit safe for more exploration and help protect the satellite infrastructure. Wicker is said to have raised the concern on the issue of who should take responsibility for civil STM and also hearing of all committee proceedings at the NASA programs on September 30. He also said that the commerce department plans to take over space situational awareness mission for the commercial and civil entities.
The officials from the commerce department have played down the urgency for a formal system of authorization. They have put this into place, arguing that current laws and regulations would give them enough room to take on civil STM duties. The commerce department officials hope that the NAPA report shall help convince the congressional appropriators to help by providing the requested finance funding for the civil STM work. They said that they have also been meeting with the congressional staff, some of its members, to explain the importance of the whole process.
O’Connell also said that if the congress does not make any efforts to provide any funds, the entire office is ready to make a forward move and work on an open architecture data repository that would help to combine the space awareness data from the department of defense with the one for international and commercial sources.