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Compromise FAA Reauthorization Bill Includes Funding Authority, Directives for FAA Space Office

Compromise FAA Reauthorization Bill Includes Funding Authority, Directives for FAA Space Office

The House and Senate committees that oversee the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reached a compromise on an FAA reauthorization bill late Friday night.  The deal was announced on Saturday and the bill is on the House schedule for a vote this week.  Among its many provisions, the bill authorizes funding for the FAA’s space office through FY2023, directs it to create an Office of Spaceports and develop spaceport policy, and to work closely with another part of the FAA on utilization of the National Airspace System.  The bill includes unrelated provisions as well, such as supplemental emergency funding to respond to Hurricane Florence.

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NASA Sends Congress Long Awaited Human Exploration Roadmap

NASA Sends Congress Long Awaited Human Exploration Roadmap

NASA has sent Congress the human exploration roadmap required by the 2017 NASA Transition Authorization Act.  It was due December 1, 2017.  The law requires that it be updated as needed, but not less than biennially.  This initial version lays out milestones through 2024 and identifies “post-2024 decisions” that need to be made.  The submission of the report comes days before NASA officials are set to testify to House and Senate committees on NASA’s human exploration plans and U.S. global leadership in space.

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Japan Lands Two Tiny Rovers on Asteroid Ryugu

Japan Lands Two Tiny Rovers on Asteroid Ryugu

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has landed two tiny rovers on the asteroid Ryugu as part of its Hayabusa2 asteroid sample return mission.  The rovers, MINERVA-II1 A and B, weigh 1.1 kilogram (~2.4 pounds) each and can hop across the asteroid’s surface to obtain data that will help JAXA determine the best sites to obtain samples for return to Earth.

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What’s Happening in Space Policy September 23-29, 2018

What’s Happening in Space Policy September 23-29, 2018

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of September 23-29, 2018 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in session this week.

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CSIS’s Harrison Pours Cold Water on $12.9 Billion Space Force Cost Estimate

CSIS’s Harrison Pours Cold Water on $12.9 Billion Space Force Cost Estimate

Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) today sharply questioned the Air Force’s $12.9 billion cost estimate for establishing a Space Force and a unified combatant command.  An experienced defense budget analyst, Harrison went so far as to call it an example of “malicious compliance” where the highest possible estimate is being used to influence the debate.

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Today’s Tidbits: September 20, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: September 20, 2018

Here are SpacePolicyOnline.com’s tidbits for September 20, 2018:  Ivanka Trump visits JSC; JAXA’s Hayabusa2 about to release rovers onto Ryugu.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

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Today’s Tidbits: September 19, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: September 19, 2018

Here are SpacePolicyOnline.com’s tidbits for September 19, 2018:  Bridenstine still interested in branding opportunities; NOAA awards more commercial weather data contracts; NASA names first woman chief flight director.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

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Shanahan: “No Groupthink in the Pentagon” re Space Force

Shanahan: “No Groupthink in the Pentagon” re Space Force

Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said today that the Pentagon is still working through how to create a Space Force. He praised the contributions of senior military and civilian leaders as the debate continues, stressing there is “no groupthink in the Pentagon” and they will find the answers as a team.

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AFA: Space Force, No, But How About a New Name for the Air Force?

AFA: Space Force, No, But How About a New Name for the Air Force?

The Air Force Association (AFA) has issued a position paper rejecting the idea of creating a new U.S. Department of the Space Force as demanded by President Trump, at least for now.  Instead, it calls for renaming the Air Force as the Aerospace Force to highlight that air and space are “indivisible,” as pointed out at the beginning of the Space Age by then Air Force Chief of Staff Thomas White.

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Are SpaceX’s Commercial Crew Test Flights Slipping Again?

Are SpaceX’s Commercial Crew Test Flights Slipping Again?

During an announcement tonight about the first private passenger to fly around the Moon, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk indicated that the dates for the company’s commercial crew test flights may be slipping again.

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