NOAA Releases Draft Commercial Space Policy

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is developing the policy to establish the broad principles for the use of commercial space-based approaches for NOAA’s observational requirements, and to potentially open a pathway for new industry to join the space-based Earth observation process.

The NOAA provides essential environmental intelligence to the American public, decision makers, and our partners. The NOAA strives to understand and predict changes in weather, climate, oceans, and coasts, and provides services that are critical to the protection of lives, property, and the United States economy, underpinning core functions across the whole of Federal government.

On September 1, NOAA published its draft Commercial Space Policy for public review and comment. NOAA seeks to utilize commercial space capabilities to capitalize on available extramural expertise, to diversify NOAA’s portfolio of data collection capabilities, to promote U.S. space commerce and the industrial base, and to pursue enhancements in program schedules and costs.

This policy applies to NOAA’s interaction with the commercial sector in the following areas:
1.Data Buys: An arrangement for the purchase of data or data products from a space-based remote sensing system.
2.Hosted Payloads: The use of available capacity on a satellite to accommodate an additional payload.
3.Rideshares: A shared orbital space launch of a hosted payload, a secondary payload or a co-manifested mission on a single launch vehicle.
4.Launch Services: Services that deliver assets to the desired orbit in space.

The policy designates the Office of Space Commercialization as the NOAA entry point for commercial sector engagement. Additionally, this policy does not apply to the design, building, or operation of government-owned spacecraft, or to data transfer services, such as from ground stations to communications satellites solely for dissemination purposes.

Last Modified: 2015/12/17