Senate Confirms Barbara Barrett as Secretary of the Air Force

Senate Confirms Barbara Barrett as Secretary of the Air Force

Today the Senate confirmed Barbara Barrett to be the new Secretary of the Air Force, succeeding Heather Wilson who resigned in May. President Trump tweeted his intention to nominate her before Wilson left, but did not formally submit it to Congress until last month.  During her confirmation hearing she supported creation of a Space Force as a sixth military service and highlighted the importance of space assets not only to national security, but to all Americans.

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Doug Loverro Named New Head of NASA’s Human Spaceflight Program

Doug Loverro Named New Head of NASA’s Human Spaceflight Program

Doug Loverro, well known for his national security space policy credentials, will become the new head of NASA’s human spaceflight program.  He succeeds Bill Gerstenmaier who was dismissed from that position by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in July.  Loverro most recently served in government as an Obama appointee at DOD.  He is now a consultant and strong advocate for creating a Space Force.

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Failed Power Unit Leads to Spacewalk Changes, First All-Female EVA Will be This Week

Failed Power Unit Leads to Spacewalk Changes, First All-Female EVA Will be This Week

NASA announced changes today to its series of five spacewalks to replace batteries on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS).  After two successful extravehicular activities (EVAs) last week, a power unit connected to one of the new batteries failed.  NASA is not sure why and is pausing this sequence of EVAs until engineers have some answers. Instead, Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will make a spacewalk on Thursday or Friday to replace the failed power unit.  That will be the first all-female spacewalk, moving that milestone up several days.

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What’s Happening in Space Policy October 13-19, 2019

What’s Happening in Space Policy October 13-19, 2019

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of October 13-19, 2019 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate will be in session starting Tuesday.

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LEGENDARY COSMONAUT ALEXEI LEONOV DIES AT 85

LEGENDARY COSMONAUT ALEXEI LEONOV DIES AT 85

One of the world’s most legendary cosmonauts, Alexei Leonov, died today at 85 after a long illness.  In 1965, Leonov became the first human being to make a spacewalk and 10 years later commanded the Soviet side of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP), the first U.S.-Soviet space mission.  Despite the Cold War, he and his U.S. counterpart, NASA astronaut Tom Stafford, became close friends and remained that way throughout the intervening decades exemplifying how space cooperation can change perspectives and transcend geopolitics.

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Astronauts Could Launch on Crew Dragon 1st Quarter 2020, If …

Astronauts Could Launch on Crew Dragon 1st Quarter 2020, If …

The heads of NASA and SpaceX agreed today that American astronauts could launch to space on an American rocket from American soil in the first quarter of 2020. But that is only if upcoming tests of an abort system and parachutes go as planned and that often is not the case.  The key is taking steps one at a time and making data-driven decisions focused on the safety of the two NASA astronauts who will be aboard.

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Musk Says Crew Dragon Tests Will be Done in About 10 Weeks

Musk Says Crew Dragon Tests Will be Done in About 10 Weeks

Elon Musk tweeted today that he expects tests of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and its Falcon 9 rocket to be completed in about 10 weeks.  That would mean the crewed test flight, Demo-2, might take place before the end of the year or early in 2020.  NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will visit SpaceX headquarters on Thursday to see how the program is progressing for himself after recently complaining about schedule delays.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING IN SPACE POLICY October 6-12, 2019

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN SPACE POLICY October 6-12, 2019

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of October 6-12, 2019 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in recess (except for pro forma sessions) until October 15, the day after the Columbus Day federal holiday.

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All Female Spacewalk Back on Track as NASA Readies for 10 EVAs

All Female Spacewalk Back on Track as NASA Readies for 10 EVAs

NASA is getting ready to conduct 10 spacewalks, or extravehicular activities (EVAs), over the next three months to replace batteries and repair a scientific instrument attached to the International Space Station (ISS).  Three NASA astronauts and one from the European Space Agency (ESA), two men and two women, will be involved in the EVAs.  One will pair the two women astronauts, the first time an all-woman spacewalk will take place.  One had been planned earlier this year, but had to be scuttled because of spacesuit issues.  NASA is confident that will not happen this time.

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NASA Mulls Soyuz Needs As Commercial Crew Schedule Remains Fluid

NASA Mulls Soyuz Needs As Commercial Crew Schedule Remains Fluid

NASA is weighing whether it needs to buy more seats on Russian Soyuz spacecraft as the schedule for the commercial crew program remains uncertain.  NASA’s space station program manager said today the agency is looking at options as it tries to ensure that no undue schedule pressure is exerted on the commercial crew contractors, Boeing and SpaceX.  Kirk Shireman agreed on the need to get those systems flying, but safely.  Meanwhile, a congressional waiver that allows NASA to pay Russia for Soyuz services expires at the end of 2020.

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