The national space policy released earlier this month marked the culmination of years of work on various space policy issues. Over the last few years the Bush Administration has released statements on various space-related topics, including remote sensing, exploration, transportation, and navigation. That should cover just about everything, right?
Not necessarily. In his presentation at the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee meeting at FAA headquarters on Wednesday, David Cavossa of the Satellite Industry Association said that there’s a need for a national policy that covers commercial satellite communications. Such a policy, he said, would handle issues of particular interest to the satellite communications industry, including export control reform and spectrum policy. The former is of interest to the domestic space industry in general (and the effects of the current policy on the industry and national security is being studied right now by the Defense Science Board, he said), while spectrum issues come up frequently for satellite communications companies, particularly as they vie with terrestrial competitors for desired frequency bands.
Regardless of whether such a policy is needed or not, it’s hard to see something like it happening any time soon. How much attention will the current administration be willing to give to the topic in its final two years (particularly given the work they put into other space policy issues over the last several years)? This might have to wait until the next administration takes office, and even then it will probably take them some time before they’re able to focus on this.