The White House has proposed a “mission authorization” framework that would allow the Federal Aviation Administration to oversee asteroid mining, transportation of payloads to the lunar surface and other emerging commercial space missions, Space News reported Monday.
Jeff Foust writes the White House’s office of science and technology policy included the proposal in a report to Congress as part of its compliance with the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015.
OSTP’s report is in response to industry concerns that such commercial space activities are not covered by the licensing system for commercial spacecraft and launches as mandated in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.
“If the United States wants to be perceived as being compliant with the Outer Space Treaty, somebody has to authorize and oversee those operations,” said George Nield, associate administrator for commercial space transportation at FAA.
According to the report, the White House’s mission authorization measure does not aim to create a “comprehensive regulatory framework” for such “unprecedented” space activities.