During a March 5 budget hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross urged Congress to fund the $15 million budget request for the Office of Space Commerce.
In his opening statement, Secretary Ross said the Office of Space Commerce “urgently needs funding” in FY 2021. He stated that, “Our request for $15 million advances U.S. leadership in space as we shift responsibility for tracking tens of thousands — in fact, hundreds of thousands — of pieces of space debris from the Department of Defense to the Department of Commerce. The exponential growth of commercial satellites is increasing geometrically the risk of catastrophic collision that could generate additional debris and threaten critical space assets. The task of tracking this debris and providing accurate warnings to space operators is set forth in Space Policy Directive number 3.”
In response to committee questions, Secretary Ross elaborated further on the Office of Space Commerce budget request and the Department’s SSA mission.