A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket attached to the cargo-only capsule called Dragon lifts off from the launch pad on October 7, 2012 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket attached to the cargo-only capsule called Dragon lifts off from the launch pad on October 7, 2012 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

Before heading off for Europe this week for climate change talks, President Obama signed a several bills into law.

Among them, the Department of Defense Appropriations bill, and a law that updates the way the US government thinks about the commercial space industry. The Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship Act of 2015 (SPACE Act) gives American companies the go-ahead for mining on asteroids and the moon, with guarantees that they can keep what they mine. It's unclear whether other countries in space will agree.

The new law also extends US support for the International Space Station until 2024, and sets up a process to streamline the permissions process for commercial launches. Aaron  Osterle, policy director for the Space Frontier Foundation, said the government is trying to keep up with the fast-moving developments in the commercial space industry.

"When the industry started operating and developing new launch vehicles, and, specifically, reusable launch vehicles," said Osterle, referring to the recent successful landing of a Blue Origin rocket. "They're going to be a very different vehicle than we've ever flown before. But if we want to have a broader industry, if we want to have big visions of space settlement, you're going to have to have flights that are on-par with modern-day aviation."

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Molly Wood at @mollywood