Rep. James Bridenstine (R-Okla.) has unveiled a bill aimed to help the Defense Department establish a distributed system of small satellites and focus on the procurement of Earth observation data and other services from commercial providers, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Christian Davenport writes Bridenstine introduced the American Space Renaissance Act during his speech at the annual Space Symposium Tuesday in Colorado.
Bridenstine, also a U.S. Navy fighter pilot and member of the National Guard, said the bill seeks to set up a government agency that would oversee space traffic and take actions to mitigate collisions of space debris and other orbital objects.
Jeff Foust and Mike Gruss also reported for Space News that the proposed legislation aims to commit the NASA administrator to a five-year term and authorize the Transportation Department’s secretary to collect data on space situational awareness for distribution with other agencies and commercial partners.
Bridenstine told Space News in an interview that the bill also includes a provision to create a $27 million program that would make at least four contract awards through a competitive procurement process in an effort to support small satellite launches.
“The goal is to generate interest, start a conversation, and, where we can build consensus, take different parts of the bill and insert it into other pieces of legislation that we know are going to pass,” he said of the bill.