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U.S. space law training and certification program launched

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Described as the industry’s first U.S. space law and regulation training and certification program designed specifically for startups launched January 11 in partnership with the Air Force Research Lab’s (AFRL) New Mexico Tech Engagement Office.

The program, created by Washington, D.C.-based organization Association of Commercial Space Professionals (ACSP), whose mission is to provide companies with affordable regulatory and legal resources, will offer its inaugural Space Regulatory Bootcamp February 21-23 at space/aerospace business incubator Q Station. The bootcamp, which will be held virtually and in person, is designed for C-suite and legal professionals learning about space regulation for the very first time, as well as those already supporting space industry startups who want to advance their knowledge.

“The legal and regulatory issues startups need to be aware of — and prepared to navigate — can add up, and may result in significant cost overruns, launch delays, and potentially more serious legal issues,” Gabe Mounce, director of the AFRL’s Outreach and Tech Engagement Office in New Mexico, which is leading the partnership with ACSP, said in a statement. “The government has made significant advancements in the way it works with startups to foster innovation, but if the legal and regulatory support doesn’t follow, these startups will fail before they even begin. This program is the first to systematically provide the legal and regulatory training needed to ensure a higher startup success rate.”

The complexity of U.S. space law and regulation is due not only to the sheer volume and type of activities regulated, but also because these activities are managed and enforced across a minimum of five government agencies:

  • Federal Aviation Administration (launches, reentries)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (remote sensing)
  • Department of State (export controls)
  • Department of Commerce (export controls)
  • Federal Communications Commission (telecommunications, frequency allocations)

The Space Regulatory Bootcamp curriculum was built with the unique needs of these startups in mind, according to the organizers. Curriculum is leveled to “quickly and effectively” train startup CEOs, senior executive leadership, and legal counsel with little to no preliminary knowledge of space regulation.

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