National Security Bubble, Meet the World

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) surprised industry with an interim final rule posted this past weekend. Effective more-or-less immediately, on January 6, 2020, the rule, tediously titled “Addition of Software Specially Designed To Automate the Analysis of Geospatial Imagery to the Export Control Classification Number 0Y521 Series,” appears familiar to anyone who has worked with ITAR in the space industry.

And like the laws surrounding ITAR, the rule here is knee-jerk. Also, it’s akin to closing the barn door and setting fire to the barn after the whole herd of horses ran out.

We understand that many senior officials with the DoC were uninformed of this pending rule. However, someone (or more likely, many someones), decided that software created to automatically conduct analyses of geospatial imagery (and something called point clouds) … Read the rest

Commerce’s BEA –The Gift that Keeps on Giving?

Just before Christmas, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) posted a notice–a Christmas gift for the space industry?–that it is developing a Space Economy Satellite Account (SESA) in partnership with… Read the rest

The new Space Force is here! The new Space Force is here!

Sure, we’re paraphrasing one of many worthy quotes from “The Jerk.” And our response is the same as the scripted response in that movie:

“Well, we wish we could get so excited about nothing.”

To be clear, there are some good things in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), such as a pay raise for service members and paid parental leave for Federal workers. But the creation of the Space Force is the headliner, and, frankly, the only news about that topic is that there’s no real news (in the short-term).

What can we expect from the newly-established Space Force?

  • Consolidation of USAF activities, though no indication of how/when/if other services branches (Army, Navy, USMC, SMC) will fold in their space professionals.
  • We view it as highly unlikely that IC (intelligence community) space activities join the Space Force
  • No
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Is the U.S. National Security Space “Launch Market” only big enough for two launch providers?

In October 2018, the US Air Force selected four companies (Blue Origin, Northrop, SpaceX, ULA) to compete for the newly established National Security Space Launch (NSSL) program that replaces the 1990s vintage EELV program. The Air Force has… Read the rest