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Remarks by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross at the National Space Council in Huntsville, Alabama


Vice President Pence and fellow members of the National Space Council, thank you for the opportunity to update you on the Commerce Department’s activities following Space Policy Directives 2 and 3. 

At the Commerce Department, we see a wave of innovation occurring in all areas of space commerce, from remote sensing, to high-speed communications, navigation, weather forecasting, satellite servicing, and tourism. Later, there will likely be space habitation and asteroid mining.

Over the past two months, I hosted two summits connecting leading companies in finance, banking, and insurance to commercial space enterprises. The space industry needs both increased financing and access to insurance in order to be successful in reaching its forecasted trillion-dollar valuation.

For Space Policy Directive 2, we have been executing regulatory reforms to show that America is best positioned to support business in space. The new SPD-2 report outlines our spectrum strategy for advanced space commerce activities as part of the deployment of 5G networks. The SPD-2 report we developed with industry input includes recommendations for upgrading our space spectrum allocations and harmonizing international standards on spectrum for space activities. 

Under SPD-3, the Commerce Department is also assuming responsibility for space situational awareness and space traffic management for commercial satellite operators. 

I recently spent a day at Vandenberg Air Force Base meeting with General Jay Raymond, Commander of Air Force Space Command, along with the 18th Space Control Squadron, and our allies at the Combined Space Operations Center. We discussed the need for automation and new technologies to track space debris, especially objects smaller than 10 centimeters, and to be more precise in forecasting conjunctions.

Our Office of Space Commerce also is working with industry to enhance access to DoD’s “authoritative catalog” of space debris. We will be the liaison to industry, and will deploy a cloud-based, open architecture data repository that will enhance safety for all space operators. 

We welcome the contributions of our allies in this endeavor, especially their commercial entities.  

To this end, we will co-host with the State Department and our allies an International Space Enterprise Summit in Washington in late June to discuss these and other issues related to the growing global space economy.   

Commerce continues to work well with the U.S. Strategic Command, the Air Force, and our friends throughout the DOD and the interagency as we advance the President’s SSA – STM mission.

By this summer, we will deploy full-time Commerce staff at Vandenberg to learn from and work alongside the C-SPOC.

Finally, Mr. Vice President, let me mention our dedication to creating a Bureau of Space Commerce within my Department. A Bureau of Space Commerce will provide a clear signal of this Administration’s commitment to “harnessing the power of the U.S. commercial space industry.” 

It will provide this and future administrations with the tools required to ensure the United States continues to lead in this essential global industry.

I look forward to the National Space Council being the catalyst for the creation of a trillion-dollar space economy based overwhelmingly on the contribution of the U.S. commercial space industry. 

Thank you.