Within the US Department of Commerce is an office called the Office of Space Commerce. Currently, it is one of several agencies under the department in charge of directing and encouraging economic activities in space. The little office has Kevin O’Connell as its first director. Mark Paese was appointed acting director in January 2021.
The Office will be combined with the Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs Office to form the Space Policy Advancing Commercial Enterprise (SPACE) Administration, Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, stated in May 2018. The new body would aim to simplify the regulatory procedure. Following that, these plans were scrapped.
The Office of Space Commerce is supposed to begin creating an architecture for STM (space traffic management), according to the executive secretary of the National Space Council. This plan has been slowed down by studies and a lack of financing. “We were extremely thrilled to be able to recruit Richard DalBello in that leadership position to oversee the Office of Space Commerce,” Parikh said on July 13 at a Future Space Leaders Foundation conference on Capitol Hill.
Late in April, the Office of Space Commerce nominated DalBello, a veteran of the space sector and former public servant, to the position of director. It had been unfilled since January 2021. He is currently collaborating closely with the Department of Defense, the Space Force, and U.S. Space Command in order to build that connection and transfer responsibility for that mission from the Defense Department to Commerce, according to Parikh.
The Office of Space Commerce is in charge of carrying out Space Policy Directive 3, a 4-year-old policy that instructs the Commerce Department to assume DoD-currently assigned civil space traffic management responsibilities. To that end, alerts must be given to satellite operators on potential close encounters between their spacecraft and other space objects. Due to a lack of financing as well as “all the research and then the leadership change along the road,” according to Parikh, the space traffic management endeavor has advanced slowly.
With further cash in the pipeline, the future seems more promising. He claimed, “What we’ve done is put our cash where our mouth is. We have roughly 8 times as much money in the president’s proposed budget for the fiscal year 2023, so we can now begin constructing infrastructure, investments, and buildings.”
The Office of Space Commerce has had its funding request from the Biden administration for 2023 climb by 800% to $87.8 million. “So, they are now beginning to go through the architectural evaluations and means of building out a prototype capability, and collaborate with the commercial sector to be able to exploit that as much as we can,” said Parikh.