Space Policy Pod: Episode 9 (Kevin O'Connell, U.S. Department of Commerce) 24 August 2020

  • SPACEPOLICY_400x400Space Policy Pod

    Given the current real-world challenges confronting all of us, AIAA has joined the MITRE Corporation, Space Foundation, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to produce this podcast series to examine events and ideas affecting the space sector. We hope the episodes serve as an enlightening discussion on the relevant topics of the day with insights from key policymakers in the field.
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  • Kevin O'ConnellEpisode 9: Kevin O'Connell

    24 August 2020

    Director of the Office of Space Commerce, U.S. Department of Commerce




This episode features Kevin O’Connell, Director of the Office of Space Commerce at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Mr. O’Connell leads an office with responsibility as a space industry advocate within the Executive Branch of the U.S. government. Previously, Mr. O’Connell served as the CEO of Innovative Analytics and Training, a professional services firm focused on analysis and decision support for U.S. government and commercial clients. He also served as a senior consultant to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and as an independent advisor to the Director, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

 Key Takeaways

The NAPA Report on Space Traffic Management

  • A recent report from the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) recommends that the Department of Commerce should implemented a civil space traffic management system as directed by Space Policy Directive-3.
  • Study Link: https://www.napawash.org/uploads/NAPA_OSC_Final_Report.pdf

Why is the Department of Commerce best suited for the STM mission?

  • Director O’Connell spoke about the ability of the Department of Commerce is able to leverage knowledge on telecommunications, cybersecurity, as well as industry connections. 
  • Additionally, the Department of Commerce has great expertise in collecting, analyzing, and disseminating large amounts of public data sets, such as through weather forecasting.

The Future of the Office of Space Commerce

  • Future space missions will need timely, precise, and persistent space situational awareness to successfully conduct future commercial activities, such as on-orbit satellite servicing. 
  • As the Department of Commerce builds the Open Architecture Data Repository (OADR), it will have to seriously consider issues such as data integrity and cybersecurity to ensure that the data can be trusted. 
  • In parallel, the Department needs to work to develop “rules of the road” in space, including developing standards and best practices for working with industry and the international community.