Commerce Secretary Promises 'One-Stop Shop' for Space Commerce

"The rate of regulatory change must match the rate of technological change," Wilbur Ross said during the second meeting of the re-activated National Space Council. "The government must not stand in the way of this progress, as it so often does. It is time to unshackle business activity in space."

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross told the re-activated National Space Council that his department will create a "one-stop shop" for space commerce. Speaking at the council's second meeting on Feb. 21 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, he praised the recent successful test launch of Space X's Falcon Heavy rocket and discussed the department's vision for the future of space commerce. Space is already a $330 billion industry supporting 211,000 U.S. jobs, he said, but at least 70 countries are trying to make their way into space and the U.S. share of the 1,700 new companies created worldwide last year was only 45 percent -- "far lower than our share of launches."

Since the council first met last October, the Department of Commerce has identified regulatory barriers to commercial space activity and developed a vision for the future of space commerce, he said. "Commerce's review of the outdated regulatory framework, discussions with an ambitious but frustrated space industry, and meetings within the [Trump] Administration have made one thing clear: The rate of regulatory change must match the rate of technological change," he said. "The government must not stand in the way of this progress, as it so often does. It is time to unshackle business activity in space."

With the council's direction, he said he will move the Office of Space Commerce and the Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs office from their present location in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to his direct oversight in the Office of the Secretary, in order to provide increased access, increased efficiency, and swift regulatory decision making.

The Office of Space Commerce will coordinate all space-related functions at the department, and he promised to soon name a director of the office.

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