Press Release

Department of Commerce Helping American Businesses Globally Compete in the New Frontier of Space

April 7, 2022
Contact: Office of Public Affairs 

WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce is leading efforts to create jobs and grow the U.S. economy by helping American companies succeed in the new frontier of space commerce.

The Department’s new strategic plan released March 28, 2022, includes objectives to advance and promote commercial space industry innovation. The plan states that the Department will grow the customer base for U.S. commercial space goods and services, in part by leveraging its network of domestic and overseas offices to ensure that U.S. space companies receive trade assistance for exporting.

In the past two years, the Department’s International Trade Administration (ITA) strategically engaged with foreign governments and supported U.S. companies to secure major space-related contracts that cover astronaut training, launch services, space mission activities and scientific research.

By engaging in government-to-government advocacy, monitoring industry developments, and bridging communication between global markets and industries, ITA has helped several U.S. companies win major space-related contracts for international projects that cement the United States as the industry leader in space commerce.

“Data, products, and services from the U.S. commercial space industry create jobs across the country and improve the lives of millions of Americans. The Department of Commerce is ready to help U.S. industries join the growing number of American businesses taking on the new frontier of space commerce with innovative technologies and unbeatable American ingenuity,” said Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves.

In January 2020, ITA supported California-based SpaceX’s efforts to secure a space launch services contract with Nilesat in Egypt to launch the Nilesat-301 geostationary communications satellite into orbit. The launch is expected to take place in 2022. This is the first commercial partnership between SpaceX and Nilesat.

Similarly, In May 2021, ITA helped Colorado-based Maxar Technologies, a provider of comprehensive space solutions and secure, precise, geospatial intelligence, outcompete two foreign competitors, including the incumbent, for a multi-million dollar contract to provide high-resolution satellite imagery services to the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space of Indonesia (LAPAN). This is Maxar’s largest imagery contract in Indonesia to date. 

In November 2021, with advocacy from ITA, Texas-based Axiom Space, Inc. signed a contract with the Italian Air Force to train Col. Walter Villadei as a professional astronaut. This agreement provides the basis for a future opportunity for a flight assignment on an Axiom Space commercial mission to the International Space Station (ISS), once approved by NASA and the ISS Multilateral Control Board. 

In December 2021, with ITA’s assistance, Axiom Space, signed a contract with the Government of Hungary to provide astronaut training and mission support services. This procurement consists of assisting the Hungarian government with training one prime and one backup Hungarian astronaut at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and supporting the planned execution of a research mission to the ISS by a Hungarian astronaut, once approved by NASA and the ISS Multilateral Control Board.

Also, in December 2021, Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo participated in the inaugural meeting of the National Space Council, which was convened and led by Vice President Kamala Harris. In that meeting, Vice President Harris laid out the administration’s whole-of-government approach to ensure that space activities create opportunities that benefit the American people and the world.

Last summer, Deputy Secretary Don Graves along with Commerce’s Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, and the Administrator of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, Rick Spinrad, Ph.D., published an editorial in Space News detailing how the Commerce Department and its bureaus are ensuring that the United States remains the world leader in the space commercial industry.

Increasingly, space-based assets are critical components of our interconnected world and key to economic growth, national security, and competitiveness. The U.S. commercial space industry pioneers innovative technologies that transform our daily lives, gather critical climate and weather data, and keep our country safe.

The growing industry is an important asset of the U.S. economy. The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) statistics show that in 2019, the U.S. space economy accounted for $194.4 billion in real gross output and 0.6% of U.S. GDP ($120.3 billion) of current-dollar GDP. It supported more than 354,000 U.S. private sector jobs translating to $42.4 billion in private industry compensation.

For more information on the Commerce Department’s efforts to advance U.S. space commerce, visit

For information on the ITA’s business advocacy and assistance services for U.S. companies exploring space commerce and other sectors, visit or


About the International Trade Administration
The International Trade Administration (ITA) at the U.S. Department of Commerce is the premier resource for American companies competing in the global marketplace. ITA has more than 2,200 employees assisting U.S. exporters in more than 100 U.S. cities and 75 markets worldwide. For more information on ITA visit

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