Space Traffic Management

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1 Space Traffic Management Dr. George C. Nield Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation International Symposium on Ensuring Stable Use of Outer Space March 4, 2016

2 Space Flight Milestones 2

3 Why is the FAA Involved? Commercial Space Launch Act of 1984 requires U.S. citizens to obtain a license from the FAA prior to conducting the launch of a launch vehicle. The only exception is for missions conducted by and for the government (such as launches by NASA or the U.S. Air Force). All together, there have been 241 licensed launches, all conducted without any fatalities, serious injuries, or property damage to the uninvolved public. 3

4 Mission Statement To ensure the protection of the public, property, and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States during commercial launch and reentry activities and to encourage, facilitate, and promote U.S. commercial space transportation. 4

5 Space Shuttle Retirement 5

6 Commercial Cargo Program 6

7 Commercial Cargo A New Provider Sierra Nevada Corporation Dream Chaser 7

8 Commercial Crew Program SpaceX Dragon 2 Boeing Starliner 8

9 Suborbital Space Tourism 9

10 On-Orbit Issues How can we enable new, non-traditional commercial operations in space? What, if anything, should be done in response to the proliferation of CubeSats and the continuing increase in Orbital Debris? What is the best way for the U.S. government to provide Space Traffic Management services? 10

11 Nontraditional Commercial Space Operations 11

12 Outer Space Treaty Article VI The activities of non-governmental entities in outer space shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty. 12

13 Existing Regulatory Framework FAA Responsible for licensing commercial launches and reentries FCC Responsible for licensing radio broadcasts from space NOAA Responsible for licensing remote sensing operations (such as taking pictures of the Earth) DoD and NASA are key players in space, but they are not regulatory agencies 13

14 An Idea from Industry One way to ensure that U.S. companies will be allowed to conduct non-traditional operations in space would be for Congress to authorize the FAA to issue a Mission License for those activities, as recommended by our Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee. 14

15 CubeSats Launched Per Year From Space Digest 2014 Year in Review 15

16 The Problem with CubeSats As spacecraft get smaller, they are becoming more difficult to track. Currently, there are no limits on satellite altitude or inclination, so popular orbits will likely become more and more congested. Commercially operated satellites are not obligated to follow international guidelines for orbital lifetime and/or disposal. Because they typically have short operational lifetimes and/or limited reliability, many CubeSats quickly turn into Orbital Debris. 16

17 Orbital Debris 17

18 The Movie Gravity 18

19 Collisions in Space 19

20 Space Traffic Management One Commonly-Used Definition: The set of technical and regulatory provisions and processes used to oversee, coordinate, regulate, and promote safe and responsible space activities. 20

21 Key STM Stakeholders Department of Transportation (DOT) (FAA) Department of Defense (DOD) Department of Commerce (DOC) National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) National Telecommunication and Information Agency (NTIA) Department of State (DOS) National Aeronautics and Space (NASA) Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 21

22 Where Are We Now? The U.S. has a responsibility to carry out treaty obligations, including supervision of non-governmental activities. The U.S. is internationally liable for actions by U.S. nationals. There appears to be a need to improve debris mitigation policies. No single agency has complete, best available space situational awareness information. No structure exists to capture all agency competencies and capabilities into an effective, focused national capability. 22

23 What s Been Happening? Interagency discussions on these topics have been ongoing since publication of the National Space Policy in Given the lack of a decision on how to coordinate space traffic management products and services across the various government agencies: Commercial operators are investigating a range of alternatives to obtain the information they need. Other nations/organizations are starting to talk about creating international oversight structures. Congress has asked for recommendations on how to address several issues related to Space Traffic Management. 23

24 Congressional Activity 24

25 U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (1) NASA is to contract for a report on Space Traffic Management and Orbital Debris, due in 1 year Assess current regulations, best practices, and industry standards Assess current authorities for FCC, FAA, and NOAA Review current treaty requirements Assess existing government assets for STM and SSA Assess the risks associated with smallsats Make recommendations on the proper framework to protect public safety and the economic vitality of the space industry 25

26 U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (2) OSTP is to prepare a report on Space Authority, due in 120 days Assess current and proposed commercial space activities Identify appropriate oversight authorities Recommend an oversight approach The President is to prepare a report on Space Resource Exploration and Utilization, due in 180 days Identify the authorities necessary to meet international obligations Make recommendations for the allocation of responsibilities among Federal agencies 26

27 U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (3) The Secretary of Transportation is to prepare a report on Space Surveillance and Situational Awareness, due in 120 days Study the feasibility of processing and releasing safetyrelated SSA data and information to any entity consistent with national security interests and public safety obligations of the United States 27

28 STRATCOM Perspective From BreakingDefense.com June 16, 2015

29 The View from the Pentagon The FAA really should be in charge of managing what s going on in space. -Douglas Loverro, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight, October 15, 2014

30 The View from the Hill We keep hearing [the Air Force] shouldn t be the FAA for space. Which says to me, maybe the FAA should be the FAA for space. -Representative Jim Bridenstine 30

31 A Potential Way Forward Designate the Department of Transportation as the lead federal agency for providing Space Traffic Management services to commercial space operators. Close the existing regulatory gap between launch and reentry by allowing the FAA to authorize non-governmental activities in space. Begin transitioning commercial space collision avoidance assessments from DoD to the FAA. 31

32 Closing Thoughts Commercial space companies increasingly have the potential to carry out activities that used to be only in the government s domain, and at least in some cases, to do so even without government support. However, there are a number of things the government can do in the near term to decrease barriers to innovation, streamline burdensome policies, eliminate regulatory uncertainty, and increase on-orbit safety. The FAA s is committed to working with other nations, other government agencies, and the U.S. Congress to enable industry s success, while preserving the space environment. 32

33 33

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