Biden administration drafting order to clarify space rules: report

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with a payload of 40 satellites for OneWeb broadband communications, lifts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

The Biden administration is reportedly working on an executive order to clarify the rules for private companies to launch rockets into space.

Reuters first reported, citing U.S. officials familiar with the effort, that an order being drafted would streamline approval for private rocket launches and is part of an administration effort to provide legal and regulatory clarity for U.S. companies.

The White House’s National Security Council did not immediately respond for a request from The Hill for confirmation.

The administration has not been able to keep up with the uptick in private-sector investment in space exploration, according to Reuters.

The order, expected to be ready by early 2023, intends to simplify licensing procedures, Reuters said, and would have the Department of Commerce launch an online tool to help guide the private sector through the licensing process. Simplifying the licensing process would allow for more space activities that are considered routine, such as launching rockets and deploying satellites.

SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk, and Blue Origin, owned by Jeff Bezos, among other companies, have made major investments in projects like space stations and satellites.

Vice President Harris chairs the National Space Council and earlier this month visited NASA headquarters with French President Macron to discuss the U.S.-French cooperation in space science and exploration. 

The vice president’s office did not immediately respond to request from The Hill for comment.

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