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Remarks by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at the Seventh Meeting of the National Space Council


Thank you, Vice President Pence, for the opportunity to update the National Space Council on the work being done at the Department of Commerce to implement Space Policy Directives Two and Three.

I am pleased to report that after innumerable discussions with industry and government agencies, a new remote sensing rule has been finalized and has been published this morning on the Federal Register website. The new rule ensures that U.S. space companies will remain competitive in the fast-developing global markets for commercial remote sensing products and services.

The Department of Commerce is also moving forward in establishing capabilities for private and international Space Situational Awareness notifications. The recent uncontrolled fragmentation of a Russian rocket and the 18-ton mass of China’s March 5B rocket that slammed into the Atlantic Ocean a week ago Monday indicate how important it is to quickly modernize the nation’s SSA capabilities, as per Space Policy Directive-3.

To address this challenge, our Office of Space Commerce will soon launch the Open Architecture Data Repository. This service will leverage secure cloud computing resources already available within NOAA and include data from NOAA’s space weather prediction center and from NASA’s database of micro-meteorites. These will complement our current use of DoD’s Unified Data Library. Ultimately, additional datasets from our federal agency partners and the private sector will be included in this system.   

President Trump’s May 6, 2020, Executive Order on Encouraging the International Support for the Recovery and Utilization of Space Resources also clears the way for the American commercial space industry to leverage the resources of the Moon. In the meantime, the Commerce and State Departments plan to host the Space Enterprise Summit later this fall to continue discussions with our international space partners. 

We also must congratulate Administrator Bridenstine and his entire staff at NASA for fulfilling the goals of Space Policy Directive-1. Especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the progress of our manned space program will provide Americans with a unifying sense of hope. And it will build faith in the scientific and technological capabilities of our nation.

Thank you, Mr. Vice President, and I look forward to our continued work.