S. 1694 would direct federal agencies that issue licenses to private entities for lunar activities to require applicants to abide by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recommendations on protecting historical lunar landing sites and artifacts. Although several agencies issue licenses and permits for space-related activities—including the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—CBO is not aware of any agency that issues licenses specifically for lunar activities. We expect that such licenses, if made available, would be issued infrequently. On that basis, and considering the costs of similar tasks, CBO estimates that any administrative costs to implement S. 1694 would be insignificant over the 2020-2024 period; such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
The bill would authorize agencies to assess civil penalties, which are recorded in the federal budget as revenues, on license holders who violate NASA’s recommendations. However, CBO estimates that any penalties collected under the bill would be insignificant.