U.S. Department of Transportation is advancing space policy


The White House National Space Council issued its National Space Policy, a coordinated process for developing and monitoring the implementation of America’s space policy and strategy.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (the Department) is a critical partner and recognizes that commercial space transportation capabilities have become the gateway to innovation in this growing sector of national and international aerospace endeavors.

“America is experiencing its most exciting years in space yet, and the Department is committed to working with the rest of the government to remove barriers to international competitiveness and ensure the safe operation of commercial space transportation activity,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

From traditional rockets to space planes, the Department ensures the protection of the public, property, and national security and foreign policy interests of the U.S. during commercial launches and reentry activities. 

The Department is a standing member of the National Space Council and is involved in the production of space policy directives. Through the Federal Aviation Administration(FAA), the Department also encourages the growth of the U.S. commercial space transportation industry, signs cooperative agreements with other nations to promote the adoption of U.S. public safety standards and regulatory concepts, and supports commercial human exploration of space through a partnership with NASA.

The FAA also issues rules, regulations, and policies for commercial space transportation to ensure public safety and is testing new technologies to further enable the safe and efficient integration of space vehicle operations with other types of air traffic in the National Airspace System (NAS).

For example, the FAA recently streamlined and modernized its regulations governing commercial space launch and reentry licensing. The new rule facilitates greater growth and innovation in the aerospace industry, maintains public safety, and helps the U.S strengthen its leading position in the world. 

Thus far, the FAA has licensed more than 380 commercial space launches and re-entries, as well as 12 spaceport operators, located in eight states.

Additionally, the Department supports the National Space Policy’s new tasks to: improve the cybersecurity of GPS, its augmentations, and federally-owned GPS-enabled devices; foster all civil and commercial sector adoption of cyber-secure GPS-enabled systems; invest in capabilities to detect, analyze, mitigate, and increase resilience to harmful interference to Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS); and, identify and promote use of multiple and diverse complementary positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) systems or approaches for critical infrastructure and mission-essential functions.