Ray at Space Prizes blog points me to the text (pdf) of the new America Competes reauthorization (see earlier item) and in particular the section that deals with “commercial orbital platforms”:
> SEC. 1003. Study Of Potential Commercial Orbital Platform Program Impact On Science, Technology, Engineering, And Mathematics
A fundamental and unique capability of NASA is in stimulating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in the United States. In ensuring maximum use of that capability, the Administrator shall carry out a study to—
(1) identify the benefits of and lessons learned from ongoing and previous NASA orbital student programs including, at a minimum, the Get Away Special (GAS) and Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM) programs, on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education;
(2) assess the potential impacts on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education of a program that would facilitate the development of scientific and educational payloads involving United States students and educators and the flights of those payloads on commercially available orbital platforms, when available and operational, with the goal of providing frequent and regular payload launches;
(3) identify NASA expertise, such as NASA science, engineering, payload development, and pay load operations, that could be made available to facilitate a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics program using commercial orbital platforms; and […]
I assume by “platforms” they mean systems like DragonLab and Bigelow Aerospace stations from which payloads would be returned and not commercial satellites with student experiments aboard.