15 July 2019

In the article "Commerce Getting Ready for Space Traffic Mission" Jacqueline Feldscher describes the plans for the Commerce Department to take charge of sharing data about the locations of orbiting spacecraft’s with the public. She also interviews Kevin O’Connell, the director of the Office of Space Commerce at the Department of Commerce. O’Connell highlights that he recently appointed Strauss Center’s non-resident scholar Diane Howard to work at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric and help the Commerce Department partner with the Defense Department to provide commercial notifications worldwide.

Feldscher asks O’Connell is to summarize his key takeaways from the Space Enterprise Summit. They are that:

  • Industry, technology, and business models are changing at lightning speed.
  • International competition is heating up.
  • There is a talent issue, and not just on the technical side. The U.S. is also mission talent in the arts, legal, and business aspects of space.
  • The international community is very interested about the Commerce Departments role.

O’Connell addresses what the status is of transferring the space traffic management mission to the Commerce Department and emphasizes that this transition can only occur once Commerce has a strong understanding of the day to day details of the mission. So far, they have partnered with the Defense Department to work on the transition and brought in NIST to start working on standards. They are also working on industry engagement