On Wednesday (Nov. 15), the National Space Council (NSC) released a draft bill that assigns oversight responsibility for novel space activities and infrastructure, including private space stations, off-Earth manufacturing and space junk removal.
"U.S. industry leads the world in bringing the benefits of space to Earth," Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves said in an emailed statement from the White House. "This legislation ensures that our government will build a regulatory environment that supports commercial expansion to benefit all Americans."
Under the United States' existing framework, the DOC regulates private, remote-sensing satellite systems while the DOT handles commercial launches and reentries, including the safety of humans on such flights (via the Federal Aviation Administration). The Federal Communications Commission, meanwhile, manages satellites' use of the electromagnetic spectrum.
But there's no clear "mission authorization" for many upcoming commercial activities in the final frontier. The proposed bill from the NSC — a policy-shaping body chaired by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris — seeks to fill in the gaps.