The executive secretary of the National Space Council, Scott Pace, has some interesting, even troubling, ideas about who owns commercial space vehicles.
“Heavy-lift rockets are strategic national assets, like aircraft carriers,” Pace said. “There are some people who have talked about buying heavy-lift as a service as opposed to owning and operating, in which case the government would, of course, have to continue to own the intellectual properties so it wasn’t hostage to any one contractor. One could imagine this but, in general, building a heavy-lift rocket is no more ‘commercial’ than building an aircraft carrier with private contractors would be.”
You don’t have to wade too far into the comments before someone hits on why heavy-lift rockets are not aircraft carriers: aircraft carriers are custom-built to the specifications of one “customer,” and there are no commercial applications for them. But that sets to the side the issue that Pace is arguing that the government either owns the “assets” or else must own the “intellectual properties” [sic] and, I don’t know, license it/them to private contractors under its essentially unilateral terms and conditions. It doesn’t work that way.