NSS endorses Space Policy Directive 2 (SPD2) which was issued May 24th (see full copy). This directive calls for a broadly scoped reform of the regulation of commercial space activities with a view towards allowing industry to operate more easily in space. Although the specific policies that will result from the directive are yet to be determined, NSS endorses the general direction of SPD2. Specifically, we look forward to the reform of regulations related to remote sensing, ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations), and the launch of reusable vehicles.
The recent incident in which SpaceX was required by regulatory agents to turn off video cameras on the Falcon 9 second stage because SpaceX did not have a license for “remote sensing” demonstrates the over-reach of current regulations. Another current issue of concern to NSS is the existence of different certification requirements at NASA and the Department of Defense for re-usable first stages. We hope the SPD2 will lead to a single, performance-driven set of certification requirements for re-usable vehicles.
NSS has long been concerned with the impact of export regulations (ITAR) on the space industry. SPD2 calls for a re-examination of export regulations, a constructive step forward. Tourist habitats in space have been subject to the same regulation as the export of machine guns and tanks, a highly undesirable situation that works to inhibit the growth of space commerce.
Chair, NSS Policy Committee
NSS Executive Vice President