VIDEO ON DEMAND

LEO Growth, Operator Responsibilities Are Key Discussions in Government to Commercial Space Transition

Originally aired on: April 20, 2023

As more private companies enter space, the government’s role is increasingly shifting from operator to manager. This discussion covers the transition of a space situational awareness capability from the Department of Defense to the Department of Commerce.

Mike French, vice president of space systems for the Aerospace Industries Association, speaks with two representatives at the forefront of this transition. On the civil side, Richard DalBello, director of the Office of Space Commerce, and on the defense side, Travis Langster, principal deputy for space and missile defense policy at Department of Defense.

Within this transition are several logistical questions, including space safety and responsibility, data sharing, operating standards, and shared authority. DalBello manages the Department of Commerce’s efforts to establish a space traffic control system, likening the landscape to FAA certifications.

“The LEO environment is going to become incredibly complicated,” DalBello said. “Not all operators are operating the same level of competence. You have young operators; you have mature operators. It’s not like there’s a simple playbook for flying a satellite constellation. So, one of the things that will have to develop as we develop this new generation of SSA capabilities is that we’ll have to have a serious dialogue about operator responsibilities.”

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