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Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves Attends 2023 Space Symposium, Provides Keynote on Importance of Space to U.S. Economy

On April 19, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves addressed space leaders from around the world on the future of the space sector and ways to make space more commercially accessible at the Space Foundation’s Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. During his keynote address, Deputy Secretary Graves stressed President Biden’s commitment to ramp up U.S. government engagement with American business in support of the space economy.

During his address, Graves also outlined the significant role the Commerce Department plays in supporting the U.S. and international space communities. He also stressed the importance of working with industry to support innovation, expand business opportunities, and the need to provide clarity, consistency, and transparency to invest and compete.

“At the Department of Commerce, we want to ensure the United States remains a leader for businesses operating in space,” said Deputy Secretary Graves. “It’s our job to improve America’s competitiveness so that our companies can succeed in the global economy.”

During the symposium, Deputy Secretary Graves also hosted a roundtable with top executives from 14 U.S. space companies on challenges and ways to grow the space economy. During the roundtable, they discussed potential issues faced by industry including U.S. regulation of novel space activities, navigating U.S. export controls on advanced technologies, and how Commerce can be a good partner in increasing international competitiveness and space situational awareness.

The following day, Graves attended the Annual Space Weather Workshop in Boulder, Colorado on the importance of programs to monitor, understand, and forecast space weather. Graves outlined how the Commerce Department is working to become a Space Weather-Ready Nation by providing actionable space weather information. Improving space safety and sustainability is a top priority for the Commerce Department and a large part of its 2022—2026 Strategic Plan.

“The Commerce Department is committed to providing decision makers across the public, private, academic, and research sectors with critical, actionable data and information to inform their decisions,” said Graves.  “Space weather information and products are vital to ensuring a safe and operationally sustainable space environment.”

During his visit to Boulder, Graves also met with employees from Commerce’s National Weather Service (NWS) and the National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service (NESDIS) and thanked them for their hard work, dedication, and public service. He saw first-hand how they are providing important life-saving information to Colorado and space weather forecasts for the U.S. and international community.

The Commerce Department is home to the Office of Space Commerce whose mission is to foster the conditions for the economic growth and technological advancement of the U.S. commercial space industry ensuring U.S. industry is a world leader in space commerce.