President Donald Trump is scheduled to sign a directive on Thursday which will order federal agencies to implement reforms aimed at reducing restrictions on commercial space companies.
The measure, the second Trump has signed as president, directs White House officials to carry out recommendations made by the National Space Council earlier this year, a White House official told The Hill.
The regulations area expect to reform the commercial space-launch licensing process through the Department of Transportation and consolidating existing offices into a “one-stop shop” housed in the Department of Commerce that would handle space-related regulatory requests.
The White House official told The Hill that most of the existing regulations were written before companies like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic started developing technology focused on commercial space travel.
“They’re working with regulatory systems that were not written with them in mind. And so what the president is saying here is, ‘look, we recognize these regulations are out of date, and they need to be changed to give more flexibility to the industry’,” the official said.
“We really believe that this will be a big leap forward for them, and really help out a lot in what they’re trying to do,” the official added.
Jeffrey Rosen, the Deputy Secretary of Transportation, stated earlier this year that the agency would look to establish a shorter process for licensing approval for space launches and re-entries.
Also, it is planned that the Department of Commerce will become kind of a hub for space commerce, including remote sensing, business, and trade promotion and spectrum policy.
The reforms were pushed by the National Space Council, an executive body formed under former President George H.W. Bush that was disbanded in 1993 before being re-established by Trump last year.
The new council had its first meeting in October, when Trump signed his first space policy directive, ordering NASA to send American astronauts back to the Moon and eventually to Mars.