WASHINGTON — Three house trade teams are asking the Commerce Division to decide to continued assist and funding for the Workplace of Area Commerce.
In a March 9 letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, the Aerospace Industries Affiliation, Business Spaceflight Federation and Satellite tv for pc Business Affiliation known as for the division to fund the small workplace at a degree “reflective of its essential function” supporting the house trade.
“Given the fixed developments, from start-ups to new applied sciences within the house sector, and the uncertainties of the post-pandemic and altering regulatory surroundings globally, the house trade requires a robust U.S. Workplace of Area Commerce to drive continued development right here and overseas for U.S. house trade,” the organizations wrote.
The workplace, positioned throughout the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has gone by ups and downs in recent times. The workplace was largely uncared for throughout the Obama administration, which didn’t appoint a director. In 2018, the Trump administration appointed Kevin O’Connell as director, who held the publish by the top of the administration in January.
The workplace took on the next profile throughout the Trump administration, notably within the space of house site visitors administration (STM). Area Coverage Directive three in June 2018 directed the Commerce Division, by the Workplace of Area Commerce, to take over civil STM work from the Protection Division, a transition that’s ongoing. It additionally supported actions akin to selling the industrial house trade and measuring its dimension.
Earlier than this 12 months the workplace obtained an annual funds of $1.eight million, however the fiscal 12 months 2021 appropriations invoice offered the workplace $10 million. That features each further funding for an STM pilot program in addition to absorbing the Business Distant Sensing Regulatory Affairs workplace inside NOAA, answerable for licensing industrial imaging techniques.
The workplace is led on an appearing foundation by Mark Paese, NOAA deputy assistant administrator for satellite tv for pc and knowledge providers. Of their letter, although, trade teams appeared involved concerning the impact the shortage of a everlasting director would have on the workplace and its small workers. “Retaining workers within the Workplace of Area Commerce to proceed to hold out its work till a brand new Director is known as is essential to the success of our trade on quite a lot of fronts,” they wrote.
The Commerce Division has been silent about its plans for the Workplace of Area Commerce. Raimondo, sworn in as commerce secretary March three after the Senate confirmed her on an 84–15 vote, was beforehand governor of Rhode Island, and house points didn’t come up in her affirmation listening to. The division’s workplace of public affairs didn’t reply to a request for remark March 10 concerning the trade teams’ letter.
Many different space-related management positions within the federal authorities additionally stay unfilled. The Biden administration has but to appoint people to function administrator of NASA, administrator of NOAA and secretary of the Air Pressure, all positions that require Senate affirmation.