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NAPA Report Says Commerce Dept ‘Best Suited’ to Handle Space Traffic Management; Wilbur Ross Quoted

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A National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) report has concluded that the Department of Commerce (DOC), particularly its office of space commerce (OSC), is the best agency to oversee space traffic management work within the federal government.

NAPA’s panel of fellows evaluated OSC, the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) office of commercial space transportation (AST), NASA and the Department of Defense (DoD)against four primary factors: functional and technical competency; partnerships; organizational leadership and capacity; and stakeholders and customers.

NAPA said OSC’s concept of operations seeks to facilitate collaboration with military, domestic and international entities to make the space domain sustainable that can enable research and commercial activities to thrive.

“OSC views its STM responsibilities principally as a data management function, rather than principally as a task of managing space traffic,” according to the report.

The report recommends that Congress authorize appropriations and provide authorities for OSC to perform the task of integrating capabilities to carry out STM and space situational awareness responsibilities. SpaceNews reported that the Department of Commerce welcomed NAPA’s findings.

“I am pleased to see that following an intensive survey of key government and industry stakeholders, NAPA’s findings independently validate that the Department of Commerce is the best civil agency to lead the commercial and international SSA/STM mission,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the Congress to quickly advance this critical space mission.”