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Beyer, Norcross, Lofgren Reintroduce Legislation To Establish And Clarify Space Situational Awareness Roles For Civilian Agencies

U.S. Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA) and Donald Norcross (D-NJ) today announced the reintroduction of the Space Safety and Situational Awareness Transition Act of 2023. The bill was cosponsored by Ranking Member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). Space situational awareness (SSA) provides a foundation for understanding where space objects are now, predicting their future trajectories, and evaluating the risk of potential collisions to operating satellites and human spaceflight safety. SSA is increasingly important to supporting the safety of orbital operations. 

The Space Situational Awareness Transition Act of 2023 would establish a civil SSA capability under the Department of Commerce and provide new congressional oversight to support spaceflight safety and space sustainability. The bill would also support NASA research and development activities to help inform and improve space situational awareness.

“Space-based operations are essential for systems our society and our national security rely on, and the number of satellites powering those systems is growing at a rapid pace. Unfortunately, federal leadership on space situational awareness has not kept pace with this growing footprint in space,” said Rep. Beyer. “This bill would make important changes to direct inter-agency traffic and establish clearly defined roles for key players on space situational awareness, including the Department of Commerce and NASA. I hope that this legislation will serve as a strong starting place for future discussions about the way forward on space situational awareness.”

“Space-based systems support our everyday lives, drive our economy and play an integral role in our national security,” said Rep. Norcross. “Space becomes more crowded every day and we must manage the risk of collisions and space debris to keep the systems we rely on efficient and operable. That’s why I’m glad to join Rep. Beyer again to reintroduce the Space Safety and Situational Awareness Transition Act today, which will provide the Department of Commerce with responsibility and authority needed to achieve civil space situational awareness. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move forward with this effort that will support the sustainability of space and ensure the safety of spacecraft.”

"While the growing activity in space from commercial, scientific, and government organizations brings countless benefits to people on Earth every day, it also adds to congestion in space--especially in certain earth orbits," said Ranking Member Lofgren. "This creates an increased risk to operational satellites that people around the world depend on and threatens the overall safety and sustainability of the space environment. Congressman Beyer's Space Safety and Situational Awareness Transition Act of 2023 will help to address this growing issue, and I am very proud to have joined him in introducing the bill today as an original cosponsor. I thank Mr. Beyer for his leadership on this issue and I look forward to seeing this effort through."

Text of the Space Safety and Situational Awareness Transition Act is available here with a one-page summary here.