Mars expedition probes the promise that Mars was a home address for past, possibly life today.
Credit: NASA

“This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint. We will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars.” – President Donald J. Trump

The White House has issued the following fact sheet regarding President Donald J. Trump’s Reforming and Modernizing American Commercial Space Policy:


President Trump’s Space Policy Directive – 2 reforms America’s commercial space regulatory framework, ensuring our place as a leader in space commerce.

Issued on May 24, 2018, the Space Policy Directive – 2 sets executive branch policy to ensure that government regulations adopted and enforced promote economic growth; minimize uncertainty for taxpayers, investors, and private industry; protect national security, public-safety, and foreign policy interests; and encourage American leadership in space commerce.

New regulatory system

Under the Directive, the Secretary of Transportation is to release a new regulatory system for managing launch and re-entry activity, targeting an industry that is undergoing incredible transformation with regulations that have failed to keep up.

Credit: SpaceX/Screengrab

In writing the new rules, the Secretary will consider requiring a single license for all types of commercial space flight launch and re-entry operations and replacing prescriptive requirements in the process with performance-based criteria.

The President is committed to ensuring that the Federal government gets out of the way and unleashes private enterprise to support the economic success of the United States.

Remote sensing

The commercial remote sensing industry is a critical national asset. As such, the Directive requires the Commerce Secretary to review commercial remote sensing regulations for consistency with the Directive’s policy and address regulations that do not conform.

Earth remote sensing spacecraft.
Credit: Planet

The current regulatory system is woefully out of date and needs significant reform to ensure the United States remains the chosen jurisdiction for these high tech companies.

President Donald J. Trump is committed to reform these systems in order to ensure American companies have every advantage in the international marketplace.

One-stop shop

Within 30 days, the Commerce Secretary is directed to transmit a plan to create a “one-stop shop” within the Department of Commerce for administering and regulating commercial space flight activities.

Agencies are directed to present to the President a report on improving global competitiveness of United States space radio frequency spectrum policies, regulation, and activities at the International Telecommunication Union and other multilateral forums.

The Directive requires the National Space Council to review export licensing regulations affecting commercial space flight activity and deliver recommendations to the President within 180 days.

President Trump is committed to reforming our out-of-date space policies and has already taken significant steps to refocus United States space strategy.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds up the Space Policy Directive – 1 after signing it, directing NASA to return to the Moon, alongside members of the Senate, Congress, NASA, and commercial space companies in the Roosevelt room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Dec. 11, 2017.
Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

Past actions

On March 23, 2018, President Trump unveiled a National Space Strategy that prioritizes American interests, ensuring a strategy that will make America strong, competitive, and great.

On June 30 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order reconvening the National Space council for the first time in 24 years.

On December 11, 2017, the President signed Space Policy Directive – 1, instructing NASA to return American astronauts to the Moon, followed by human missions to Mars.

Space Policy Directive – 2 is the second batch of recommendations made to the President by the National Space Council.

Paperwork and oversight

“When people watch an American spaceship soaring towards the heavens, or look at a satellite map on their cell phone, they don’t realize that a lot of paperwork and careful oversight from the federal government empowered a U.S. company to launch a rocket or collect and sell overhead imagery,” said Eric Stallmer, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, reflecting on the new Directive.

“Today’s signing will help make it easier for American entrepreneurs to get permission to invent new breakthroughs in space. You might say the space frontier became a little more “open” to the American people today,” Stallmer said in a press statement.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is seen during a NASA town hall event, Thursday, May 17, 2018 at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA response

The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on Thursday’s signing of Space Policy Directive-2 by President Donald Trump:

“NASA is pleased with the White House’s continued commitment to advancing America’s leadership in space. Space Policy Directive-2 (SPD-2) is another step towards bolstering our nation’s dedication to uncovering new knowledge, protecting our national security, developing breakthrough technologies, and creating new jobs.

“Our thriving space economy will continue to grow and support our missions to the Moon and Mars thanks to the Administration’s long-term investment in commercial partners who now successfully carry research and cargo to the International Space Station, and will soon transport U.S. astronauts from American soil for the first time since 2011.

“Giving American entrepreneurs the tools and guidance to pursue innovation to the best of their abilities has served our space program well from the beginning, and allows the government to purchase services it needs while we focus on returning to the Moon, expanding our presence on Mars, and pushing deeper into space.

“We look forward to working with the Secretary of Transportation as that agency works on transforming the licensing of commercial space flight launch and re-entry and to coordinating with the Department of Commerce as it consolidates commercial spaceflight activities in the Office of the Secretary.

“A light but focused regulatory touch will help our industry partners provide the best and safest services for our nation and expedite their work. There are many innovative companies across this nation working hard to build a bright future in space, and our policies should help ensure their success on all fronts.

“SPD-2 provides yet another way for the members of the National Space Council to provide much-needed direction for the many different aspects of our nation’s activity in space, providing communication and coordination on these complex enterprises for the benefit of our nation and the world.”


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