Senate defense authorizers have opted to turn the Commercial and Foreign Entities (CFE) pilot program into a permanent affair. And House lawmakers, in their version of the fiscal year 2010 defense authorization legislation, have taken a similar step, which means the provision now has a very good chance of making it into the final bill.
The Senate's bill still has to pass the full chamber, where at least two big fights -- one over the F-22 production and one over the Joint Strike Fighter alternative engine -- are waiting.
The CFE program allows the defense secretary to share space object positioning information with private companies and foreign countries.
"This program, which also allows participants to supply data for their satellites to DOD, has proved to be very useful to all aspects of the space community," Senate Armed Services Committee members wrote in their report on the bill.