Office of Space Commerce (again)?
Ah. Simple: the proposed bill, called the "Space Commerce Act of 2007," sent to the Hill by the Bush administration in October, as yet has no sponsor and has not been introduced. Stay tuned. (The proposed measure falls under the jurisdiction of the House Science Committee.)
Meanwhile, I am happy to post the proposed text, below (it's short). The bill would update 15 U.S.C. §1511e in various ways, including change the name of the Office of Space Commercialization back to the Office of Space Commerce (and I'm not sure that's actually an update), refocus responsibilities and emphasise promotion of geospatial technology and support for positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) organizations.
As we've noted here on SLP, talk of reviving and updating the office is not new. One issue was how much focus Commerce would place on established sectors such as communications, GPS and remote sensing, versus our emerging space and sub-orbital industries.
From some of the proposed language including the mandate to "promote the advancement of United States' geospatial technologies related to space commerce" we see why geospatial industry folks love the proposal. The proposed bill does not similarly addresss space tourism or technologies related thereto.
By the way, Ed Morris, director of OSC (pictured here), is scheduled to keynote at the Reach to Space conference at which I'm sure he will discuss his office and the legislative proposal. (As a mini-preview we have one slide titled "Space Commerce Act of 2007" from Ed's presentation at a recent event organized by the National Military Intelligence Association). (Yes, I jacked his slide and his picture. Now I owe him two favors.)
On a semi-related note, for those of you who can't get enough of strategic plans (and who can?) here is the OSC Strategic Plan: U.S. Leadership in Space Commerce (March 2007).
Now without further ado (and no follow-up questions, please - I have dinner plans ;), the proposed Space Commerce Act of 2007:
A BILL To provide technical corrections to the Technology Administration Act of 1998, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1: SHORT TITLE.
(a) This Act may be cited as the "Space Commerce Act of 2007."
SEC. 2. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE OFFICE OF SPACE COMMERCE.
(a) The heading of 15 U.S.C. § 1511e is deleted and replaced with the following:
"Office of Space Commerce".
(b) Section 8(a) of the Technology Administration Act of 1998 (15 U.S.C. § 1511e(a)) is amended to read as follows:
"There is established within the Department of Commerce an Office of Space Commerce (referred to in this section as the “Office”)".
SEC. 3. FUNCTIONS OF THE OFFICE OF SPACE COMMERCE.
Section 8(c) of the Technology Administration Act of 1998 (15 U.S.C. § 1511e(c)) is amended to read as follows:
"Functions of Office.― The Office shall be the principal unit for space commerce policy activities within the Department of Commerce. The Office shall―
"(1) Foster the conditions for the economic growth and technological advancement of the United States’ space commerce industry;
"(2) Coordinate space commerce policy issues and actions within the Department of Commerce;
"(3) Represent the Department of Commerce in the development of United States policies and in negotiations with foreign countries to promote United States’ space commerce;
"(4) Promote the advancement of United States’ geospatial technologies related to space commerce, in cooperation with relevant interagency working groups; and
"(5) Provide support to the U.S. Government organizations established pursuant to the United States Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Policy issued December 8, 2004 (and any successor organizations)".