November 04, 2022
Companies building private space stations to replace the International Space Station want greater federal clarification on who would regulate them and how.
No federal agency can authorize and supervise commercial space stations under Article 6 of the Outer Space Treaty.
The Federal Communications Commission issues communications licenses, the NOAA issues remote sensing licenses, and the FAA issues launch and payload licenses.
Consolidating and simplifying will improve safety, innovation, and private sector ease.
As firms move toward space station element launches, such issues are increasing.
Axiom Space's chief government and external affairs officer, Mary Lynne Dittmar, said her business will launch its first commercial module to the ISS in late 2025, roughly a year later than expected.
Mission authorisation includes figuring out how to perform Article 6's "continuous supervision," Gold added.
George Nield, former FAA associate administrator for commercial space transportation, advised the Department of Transportation.
Commercial space station developers face regulatory challenges beyond mission authorisation.
Gold remarked that commercial space stations will need export control exclusions and prioritizations like the ISS.
Commercial space stations may test worker safety and standards. Wagner remarked that NASA astronauts had career radiation restrictions, while terrestrial enterprises have annual limits.